Definition of gingerly in English:



  • In a careful or cautious manner.

    ‘Jackson sat down very gingerly’
    • ‘I dumped my backpack in it, and gingerly climbed up and sat behind him on the motorcycle.’
    • ‘Sophie sat up and gingerly slid her hand between the pillow and the mattress.’
    • ‘When he returns I'm sitting gingerly in the corner of the very small dance floor.’
    • ‘Nicky returned from washing his hands and sat gingerly on the edge of the sofa.’
    • ‘Amy leapt gingerly up onto the bed and climbed carefully into Tara's lap.’
    • ‘Gently, gingerly, she picked up the shoe and held it carefully in her cupped hand.’
    • ‘He jumped as flames licked his tail and sprinted gingerly away, careful to avoid more pain.’
    • ‘I could feel scabs tearing and scratches throbbing when I gingerly sat on the mattress beside her.’
    • ‘I obliged her request and sat gingerly in the arm chair, turned slightly to face her.’
    • ‘With a nod of his head as he inhaled the cigarette smoke, Laurie sat down rather gingerly.’
    • ‘Andrew sat down at his private table and gingerly threw his napkin into his lap.’
    • ‘The old boy got up rather gingerly, but insisted on playing on.’
    • ‘She sat down on the floor next to him and gingerly fingered the pages of the book he had in his lap.’
    • ‘She was laughing as Josh gingerly sat down and started a playful wrestling match.’
    • ‘Carefully I slip out from under the covers and I gingerly try putting weight on my bad leg.’
    • ‘She asked me to take a seat and I sat on the armchair beside her, perching gingerly on the front of it.’
    • ‘She said nothing and sat up in her bed and folded the paper gingerly in her hand.’
    • ‘She picked it up under the watchful eye of the stall keeper, and held it gingerly in her hands.’
    • ‘I gingerly picked the whole thing up and headed out of the house.’
    • ‘He went over to the sofa, limping slightly, and sat down gingerly.’
    cautiously, carefully, with caution, with care, circumspectly, delicately, warily, charily, guardedly, prudently, judiciously, on one's guard, on the alert, on the lookout, on the qui vive, suspiciously, attentively, heedfully, watchfully, vigilantly, observantly, alertly, cannily
    hesitantly, timidly, timorously
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  • Showing great care or caution.

    ‘a gingerly pace’


Early 16th century (in the sense ‘daintily, mincingly’): perhaps from Old French gensor delicate, comparative of gent graceful, from Latin genitus (well-) born.