Gentle Gen"tle, a. [Compar. {Gentler}; superl. {Gentlest}.] [OE. gentil, F. gentil noble, pretty, graceful, fr. L. gentilis of the same clan or race, fr. gens, gentis, tribe, clan, race, orig. that which belongs together by birth, fr. the root of genere, gignere, to beget; hence gentle, properly, of birth or family, that is, of good or noble birth. See {Gender}, and cf. {Genteel}, {Gentil}, {Gentile}, {Gentoo}, {Jaunty}.] 1. Well-born; of a good family or respectable birth, though not noble. [1913 Webster]

British society is divided into nobility, gentry, and yeomanry, and families are either noble, gentle, or simple. --Johnson's Cyc. [1913 Webster]

The studies wherein our noble and gentle youth ought to bestow their time. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. Quiet and refined in manners; not rough, harsh, or stern; mild; meek; bland; amiable; tender; as, a gentle nature, temper, or disposition; a gentle manner; a gentle address; a gentle voice. [1913 Webster]

3. A compellative of respect, consideration, or conciliation; as, gentle reader. ``Gentle sirs.'' ``Gentle Jew.'' ``Gentle servant.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. Not wild, turbulent, or refractory; quiet and docile; tame; peaceable; as, a gentle horse. [1913 Webster]

5. Soft; not violent or rough; not strong, loud, or disturbing; easy; soothing; pacific; as, a gentle touch; a gentle gallop . ``Gentle music.'' --Sir J. Davies. [1913 Webster]

O sleep! it is a gentle thing. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

{The gentle craft}, the art or trade of shoemaking.

Syn: Mild; meek; placid; dovelike; quiet; peaceful; pacific; bland; soft; tame; tractable; docile.

Usage: {Gentle}, {Tame}, {Mild}, {Meek}. Gentle describes the natural disposition; tame, that which is subdued by training; mild implies a temper which is, by nature, not easily provoked; meek, a spirit which has been schooled to mildness by discipline or suffering. The lamb is gentle; the domestic fowl is tame; John, the Apostle, was mild; Moses was meek. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • gentle — [jent′ l] adj. gentler, gentlest [ME gentil < OFr, of noble birth < L gentilis, of the same gens (in LL, of a good family) < gens: see GENS] 1. belonging to the upper classes or polite society 2. like or suitable to polite society;… …   English World dictionary

  • gentle — The phrase the gentle art, which was used with clever irony by the American painter James McNeill Whistler in his title The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890), had already become a cliché by the time Fowler wrote (1926). As well as being used… …   Modern English usage

  • gentle — [adj1] having a mild or kind nature affable, agreeable, amiable, benign, biddable, bland, compassionate, considerate, cool*, cultivated, disciplined, docile, domesticated, dovelike*, easy, genial, humane, kindly, laid back*, lenient, manageable,… …   New thesaurus

  • Gentle — Gent le, v. t. 1. To make genteel; to raise from the vulgar; to ennoble. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To make smooth, cozy, or agreeable. [R. or Poet.] [1913 Webster] To gentle life s descent, We shut our eyes, and think it is a plain. Young.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gentle — may refer to: *Gentleness *Gentleman *Gentle (comics) …   Wikipedia

  • Gentle — Gen tle, n. 1. One well born; a gentleman. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Gentles, methinks you frown. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A trained falcon. See {Falcon gentil}. [1913 Webster] 3. (Zo[ o]l.) A dipterous larva used as fish bait. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gentle — index harmless, lenient, nonmilitant, peaceable, placid Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • gentle — (adj.) early 13c., well born, from O.Fr. gentil high born, noble, of good family (11c., in Modern French nice, graceful, pleasing; fine pretty ), from L. gentilis of the same family or clan, from gens (gen. gentis) race, clan, from root of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • gentle — *soft, mild, smooth, lenient, bland, balmy Analogous words: *moderate, temperate: *pleasant, agreeable, grateful, pleasing, welcome: *calm, tranquil, serene, placid, peaceful, halcyon Antonyms: rough, harsh Contrasted words: vehement, intense,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • gentle — ► ADJECTIVE (gentler, gentlest) 1) mild or kind; not rough or violent. 2) not harsh or severe. 3) archaic noble or courteous. DERIVATIVES gentleness noun gently adverb …   English terms dictionary

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