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gentle

[jen-tl] /ˈdʒɛn tl/
adjective, gentler, gentlest.
1.
kindly; amiable:
a gentle manner.
2.
not severe, rough, or violent; mild:
a gentle wind; a gentle tap on the shoulder.
3.
moderate:
gentle heat.
4.
gradual:
a gentle slope.
5.
of good birth or family; wellborn.
6.
characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable:
a gentle upbringing.
7.
easily handled or managed; tractable:
a gentle animal.
8.
soft or low:
a gentle sound.
9.
polite; refined:
Consider, gentle reader, my terrible predicament at this juncture.
10.
entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous.
11.
Archaic. noble; chivalrous:
a gentle knight.
verb (used with object), gentled, gentling.
12.
to tame; render tractable.
13.
to mollify; calm; pacify.
14.
to make gentle.
15.
to stroke; soothe by petting.
16.
to ennoble; dignify.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English gentle, gentil(e) < Old French gentil highborn, noble < Latin gentīlis belonging to the same family, equivalent to gent- (stem of gēns) gens + -īlis -le
Related forms
gentleness, noun
gently, adverb
overgentle, adjective
overgently, adverb
ungentle, adjective
ungentleness, noun
ungently, adverb
Synonyms
1. clement, peaceful, pacific, soothing; tender, humane, lenient, merciful. Gentle, meek, mild refer to an absence of bad temper or belligerence. Gentle has reference especially to disposition and behavior, and often suggests a deliberate or voluntary kindness or forbearance in dealing with others: a gentle pat; gentle with children. Meek implies a submissive spirit, and may even indicate undue submission in the face of insult or injustice: meek and even servile or weak. Mild suggests absence of harshness or severity, rather because of natural character or temperament than conscious choice: a mild rebuke; a mild manner. 3. temperate. 5. noble. 7. manageable, docile, tame, quiet. 9. courteous; polished.
Antonyms
1. harsh, cruel. 2. violent, sudden. 7. wild, unruly.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for gently
  • He spoke gently and quietly, as it is in his nature to do.
  • Remember this: gently boosting the electrical waves in the brain can improve memory.
  • When the guilty party finally came forward, she treated him gently but firmly.
  • To avoid damaging branches, twist fruit off gently rather than pulling it.
  • Accelerate gently to get your wheels moving again and increase traction.
  • Since you signed the contract, you can ask gently but unequivocally for the details in writing.
  • Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and then press it gently on the paper layer, making the paper damp.
  • Slack gently loosens the bat's claws from the rock and slips the four-inch-long animal into a brown paper bag.
  • Using a metal spatula, gently pick up each loaf from the sheet pan and place directly on the cooking grate.
  • Great deals on gently used election system demo units.
British Dictionary definitions for gently

gentle

/ˈdʒɛntəl/
adjective
1.
having a mild or kindly nature or character
2.
soft or temperate; mild; moderate a gentle scolding
3.
gradual a gentle slope
4.
easily controlled; tame a gentle horse
5.
(archaic) of good breeding; noble gentle blood
6.
(archaic) gallant; chivalrous
verb (transitive)
7.
to tame or subdue (a horse)
8.
to appease or mollify
9.
(obsolete) to ennoble or dignify
noun
10.
a maggot, esp when used as bait in fishing
11.
(archaic) a person who is of good breeding
Derived Forms
gently, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French gentil noble, from Latin gentīlis belonging to the same family; see gens
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gently
adv.

early 14c., "befitting one of gentle rank," from gentle + -ly (2). Meaning "quietly, softly" is from 1550s.

gentle

adj.

early 13c., "well-born," from Old French gentil "high-born, noble, of good family" (11c., in Modern French "nice, graceful, pleasing; fine pretty"), from Latin gentilis "of the same family or clan," from gens (genitive gentis) "race, clan," from root of gignere "beget," from PIE root *gen- "produce" (see genus). Sense of "gracious, kind" (now obsolete) first recorded late 13c.; that of "mild, tender" is 1550s. Older sense remains in gentleman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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