Main definitions of gentle in US English:

: gentle1gentle2

gentle1

adjective

  • 1Having or showing a mild, kind, or tender temperament or character.

    ‘he was a gentle, sensitive man’
    ‘her gentle voice’
    • ‘Ben has many qualities: he is gentle, fun and brave.’
    • ‘In person, she is gentle, candid and softly spoken.’
    • ‘In person he is gentle and friendly, and wouldn't think of putting you on, perhaps because Miller isn't yet accustomed to being interviewed.’
    • ‘Harmeet is the kindest, most compassionate, humble and gentle soul I have ever met.’
    • ‘By nature, he was gentle and mild, but he now mustered up his courage to take a step that was necessary.’
    • ‘The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate.’
    • ‘The minister, though gentle in character, is firm of purpose.’
    • ‘Is this what gentle, tender young guys can expect from their future?’
    • ‘A pleasant, good natured and gentle person, Una's caring qualities were always to the fore.’
    • ‘He is exposed as a complex character, gentle, understanding, patient and loving in private.’
    • ‘Barbara was a very, very gentle person, but she was not bashful about expressing her point of view.’
    • ‘I respect her, she seems like a kind and gentle person.’
    • ‘May was a gentle person who retained a well balanced perspective on life throughout her long years.’
    • ‘They were a dedicated group of nice, intelligent and gentle people, as opposed to the grizzly war-loving soldiers I expected.’
    • ‘They were gentle people who went quietly about their lives, always willing and glad to be able to lend a helping hand to neighbours and friends.’
    • ‘I am amazed how gentle he is with the youngest child who is four.’
    • ‘Kind and gentle in his manner always, he spent his life caring for others and never thinking of self.’
    • ‘She was gentle and supportive, and these were qualities which carried over in to her work at the family centre.’
    • ‘It still surprised her that a part of Arlan could be so gentle and tender, that he wasn't all the hard exterior he seemed to be.’
    • ‘Kind and gentle in his manner, John had a smile for everyone.’
    kind, kindly, tender, benign, humane, lenient, merciful, forgiving, forbearing, sympathetic, considerate, understanding, clement, compassionate, benevolent, kind-hearted, tender-hearted, good-natured, sweet-tempered, loving
    View synonyms
  • 2Moderate in action, effect, or degree; not harsh or severe.

    ‘a gentle breeze’
    ‘a little gentle persuasion’
    • ‘He leaned towards her, pulled her close and gave her a gentle kiss.’
    • ‘Just before I pass out, strong yet gentle arms pick me up.’
    • ‘Slowly Nathan brought his head down, stealing her lips in a gentle kiss.’
    • ‘Cleansing routines should be consistently followed twice a day to include a mild soap, a gentle scrub and a deep pore cleanser.’
    • ‘But, remember to be very gentle, babies are quite fragile.’
    • ‘You can also employ gentle persuasion and subtlety to excellent effect.’
    • ‘Birds called in the distance, and a gentle breeze was rustling the leaves.’
    • ‘His voice was so gentle, and yet so firm as well.’
    • ‘Yet the softness of the edges of the silhouettes and the equal softness of the charcoal surfaces produce a soothing, gentle effect.’
    • ‘Acceptance is the tender and gentle process of opening our hearts to others, to ourselves, and to our common ground of suffering.’
    • ‘He knew that he would always be very gentle with her.’
    • ‘Noncirculating air feels up to 9 degrees warmer than the gentle air circulation from a ceiling fan.’
    • ‘He shrugged and gave the the same gentle smile as before and pulled me into a hug.’
    • ‘His tone was gentle and solicitous, but Miguel didn't trust it.’
    • ‘The lesson here for websites providing subscriptions is that if you must use ‘gentle reminders’ make sure they are actually gentle.’
    • ‘They respond well to gentle stewing or simmering.’
    • ‘One more gentle squeeze on his arm, and Jim rose and left the room.’
    • ‘The long grass ripple like the ocean waves under the surprisingly gentle sea breeze.’
    • ‘A cleanser, astringent, gentle abrasive and mild bleaching agent, baking soda is a true all-purpose beauty aid.’
    • ‘But, with a surprisingly gentle touch, she brushes his hair away from his forehead.’
    light, soft, zephyr-like, moderate, pleasant
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    1. 2.1 (of a slope) gradual.
      ‘a gentle embankment’
      • ‘Mel was clambering down a gentle slope, loosening bits of rocks and soil, towards what he supposed was the Cobalt River.’
      • ‘One is that obviously you want to drive on fairly gentle slopes.’
      • ‘Wandering down the gentle slope to the lake we put last week into perspective and start thinking next week will probably turn out reasonably OK.’
      • ‘In areas where spring frosts threaten developing buds and flowers, plant where air drainage is adequate, such as midway down a gentle slope.’
      • ‘This is an area long valued as well-drained farming land, being a gentle slope, and underneath limestone.’
      • ‘The new trail rounds the curve out more, and at the same time provides a slightly more gentle slope.’
      • ‘In the summer, they nest along stream bottoms and areas with gentle slopes.’
      • ‘They were doing it the easy way round - gentle slope followed by breakneck descent, but it was clearly regarded as a children-friendly route.’
      • ‘He had always been nervous during swimming lessons at our local pool, but the wave pool had a gentle slope and was shallow for more than half its length.’
      • ‘Geologically, the Cotswolds were created from a large block of oolitic limestone tilting up at its western end to form today's escarpment, with a gentle slope tilting to the east.’
      • ‘You can pole across the main street to the start of a gentle slope that leads to the chairlifts, from which the whole, huge area is accessible.’
      • ‘The first part of the hill was quite easy - a gentle slope that flattened off into a brief plateau.’
      • ‘The hole was about eighteen feet across and lay just over the rim of a low hill that rose in a long gentle slope from the side of our farm.’
      • ‘Close to the beginners meadow are gentle slopes, which become imperceptibly steeper, enabling you to improve without fear.’
      • ‘These sediments accumulate to form the large, gentle slope of the continental rise.’
      • ‘Beside our chalet, for example, was a gentle slope that proved perfect for bum-boarding.’
      • ‘Along the gentle slope of the mountains, the quarry stretched across an exposed cliff face.’
      • ‘First, the lake's shallow swimming area was excavated, creating a gentle slope to a depth of four feet.’
      • ‘The sea-floor has been described as extraordinary flat and exhibiting a very gentle slope towards the shore of an almost level land.’
      • ‘The south slope is more gentle and ends in a marshy bay.’
      gradual, slight, easy, imperceptible
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  • 3archaic (of a person) noble or having the qualities attributed to noble birth; courteous and chivalrous.

    • ‘My dinner guests were gentle people with refined sensibilities.’
    • ‘Tennis is the game of the gentle people, the game so prim, so historical… so deranged.’
    • ‘She could be described as a refined, gentle lady, with admirable intellectual qualities.’
    aristocratic, noble, titled, upper-class, blue-blooded, high-born, well born, patrician, elite
    View synonyms

verb

  • 1Make or become gentle; calm or pacify.

    no object ‘Cobb's tone gentled a little’
    • ‘That crisp moon was so beautiful, so sublime, so utterly perfect, that it ordered my thoughts and gentled me into a deep rest till morning.’
    • ‘He gave me an apologetic smile; the arms around me instantly gentled and he took a small step away from me.’
    • ‘The hands that held her upper arms gentled, though they did not relinquish their hold.’
    • ‘The sun laid the previous day to rest, and gentled the fears of the night.’
    • ‘She quickly assessed the young man, the pallor of the police officer's face and gentled her tone as she asked, ‘Can you tell me what you saw, please?’’
    • ‘When the rain gentled, it was like softly flowing tears that seemed to be steaming in the half-light, falling on dimly glowing skin and turning to nothing more than morning mist.’
    • ‘Clark's voice is reminiscent of Matt Mays gentled down a bit.’
    • ‘She gentled the kiss, kissing him back softly, slowly, until his rage had melted away.’
    • ‘The journey back wasn't half as bad as the one up and soon the harshness of the landscape was gentled with green.’
    • ‘Jesse gentled his grip but his eyes remained hard as they scanned over Joel's injuries.’
    • ‘‘Sorry’ he said gentling his touch a bit when he heard her gasp.’
    • ‘It gentles our character as a whole, rendering us more patient and respectful toward others, more attentive to and interested in people's thoughts and feelings.’
    • ‘His face gentled, and he touched his forehead to the other's.’
    • ‘He rubbed her chest, and gentled her, encouraging: ‘That's good, mate.’’
    • ‘He grabbed the side of her face, and gentled the kiss, as if she were a fragile piece of glass.’
    • ‘He looked to the sky and calmed the storm, gentling the wind and made the snow fall thinner.’
    • ‘She was exhausted, her eyelids seemed to be made of lead, and her rump was sore from the long ride, gentled though it had been by the magic that masked their flight.’
    • ‘His fingers tightened on her arm painfully, and gentled at her involuntary hiss.’
    • ‘Thus, we noticed that the no-nonsense lines of the building have been gentled by a topiary maze in the foreground.’
    • ‘We waited till after tea, when the fierce sun of the afternoon had gentled into a golden glow.’
    1. 1.1with object Make (an animal) docile by gentle handling.
      ‘a bird that has been gentled enough to sit on the hand’
      • ‘They had her gentled at a trainer's farm and then they kept her for a few years as a simple backyard riding pony.’
      • ‘You gentled him, taught him to lead, broke him, and everything.’
      • ‘In my early training days, I was taught that the first thing a real trainer did was to gentle a horse.’
      • ‘He once worked in a clinic in Lenexa with western Quarter Horses never touched and gentled two horses.’
      • ‘The remarkableness of this accomplishment was that Smith also gentled these horses with a broken foot in a cast.’
      • ‘Do gentled and trained mustangs serve a useful purpose?’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French gentil ‘high-born, noble’, from Latin gentilis ‘of the same clan’ (see gentile). The original sense was ‘nobly born’, hence ‘courteous, chivalrous’, later ‘mild, moderate in action or disposition’ (mid 16th century).

Pronunciation

gentle

/ˈdʒɛn(t)l//ˈjen(t)l/

Main definitions of gentle in US English:

: gentle1gentle2

gentle2

noun

Fishing
  • A maggot, especially the larva of a blowfly, used as bait.

    • ‘Chub are the number one species at the moment with swim feeder rig and gentles being the top way of fishing.’
    • ‘Mike's fish was caught on a size 12 hook baited with gentles.’
    • ‘Some of the deeper slower water by the golf course and downstream is best fished with swim feeder rig using hemp as an attractor with gentles or casters as hook bait.’
    • ‘Many anglers use pellets, boilies, gentles, casters and various flavoured paste baits, but for me it's bread.’
    • ‘The best fish reported to me was a barbel of 12-8 - on swim feeder rig and gentles as bait on a size ten hook.’

Origin

Late 16th century: probably from an obsolete sense of the adjective, ‘soft, pliant’.

Pronunciation

gentle

/ˈjen(t)l//ˈdʒɛn(t)l/