Definition of gentle in English:



  • 1(of a person) mild in temperament or behavior; kind or tender.

    ‘he was a gentle, sensitive man’
    • ‘Ben has many qualities: he is gentle, fun and brave.’
    • ‘Is this what gentle, tender young guys can expect from their future?’
    • ‘The minister, though gentle in character, is firm of purpose.’
    • ‘I respect her, she seems like a kind and gentle person.’
    • ‘The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate.’
    • ‘They were a dedicated group of nice, intelligent and gentle people, as opposed to the grizzly war-loving soldiers I expected.’
    • ‘May was a gentle person who retained a well balanced perspective on life throughout her long years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A pleasant, good natured and gentle person, Una's caring qualities were always to the fore.’
    • ‘In person, she is gentle, candid and softly spoken.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is exposed as a complex character, gentle, understanding, patient and loving in private.’
    • ‘I am amazed how gentle he is with the youngest child who is four.’
    • ‘Barbara was a very, very gentle person, but she was not bashful about expressing her point of view.’
    kind, kindly, tender, benign, humane, lenient, merciful, forgiving, forbearing, sympathetic, considerate, understanding, clement, compassionate, benevolent, kind-hearted, tender-hearted, good-natured, sweet-tempered, loving
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    1. 1.1archaic (of a person) noble or having the qualities attributed to noble birth; courteous; chivalrous.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My dinner guests were gentle people with refined sensibilities.’
  • 2Moderate in action, effect, or degree; not harsh or severe.

    ‘a little gentle persuasion’
    ‘a gentle breeze’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Birds called in the distance, and a gentle breeze was rustling the leaves.’
    • ‘His voice was so gentle, and yet so firm as well.’
    • ‘One more gentle squeeze on his arm, and Jim rose and left the room.’
    • ‘But, remember to be very gentle, babies are quite fragile.’
    • ‘A cleanser, astringent, gentle abrasive and mild bleaching agent, baking soda is a true all-purpose beauty aid.’
    • ‘The lesson here for websites providing subscriptions is that if you must use ‘gentle reminders’ make sure they are actually gentle.’
    • ‘Acceptance is the tender and gentle process of opening our hearts to others, to ourselves, and to our common ground of suffering.’
    • ‘They respond well to gentle stewing or simmering.’
    • ‘But, with a surprisingly gentle touch, she brushes his hair away from his forehead.’
    • ‘Noncirculating air feels up to 9 degrees warmer than the gentle air circulation from a ceiling fan.’
    • ‘He knew that he would always be very gentle with her.’
    • ‘You can also employ gentle persuasion and subtlety to excellent effect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 long grass ripple like the ocean waves under the surprisingly gentle sea breeze.’
    • ‘Yet the softness of the edges of the silhouettes and the equal softness of the charcoal surfaces produce a soothing, gentle effect.’
    light, soft, zephyr-like, moderate, pleasant
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    1. 2.1(of a slope) gradual.
      ‘a gentle embankment’
      • ‘The south slope is more gentle and ends in a marshy bay.’
      • ‘The first part of the hill was quite easy - a gentle slope that flattened off into a brief plateau.’
      • ‘In areas where spring frosts threaten developing buds and flowers, plant where air drainage is adequate, such as midway down a gentle slope.’
      • ‘One is that obviously you want to drive on fairly gentle slopes.’
      • ‘The sea-floor has been described as extraordinary flat and exhibiting a very gentle slope towards the shore of an almost level land.’
      • ‘The new trail rounds the curve out more, and at the same time provides a slightly more gentle slope.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘First, the lake's shallow swimming area was excavated, creating a gentle slope to a depth of four feet.’
      • ‘Mel was clambering down a gentle slope, loosening bits of rocks and soil, towards what he supposed was the Cobalt River.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These sediments accumulate to form the large, gentle slope of the continental rise.’
      • ‘They were doing it the easy way round - gentle slope followed by breakneck descent, but it was clearly regarded as a children-friendly route.’
      • ‘Beside our chalet, for example, was a gentle slope that proved perfect for bum-boarding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Along the gentle slope of the mountains, the quarry stretched across an exposed cliff face.’
      • ‘This is an area long valued as well-drained farming land, being a gentle slope, and underneath limestone.’
      • ‘Close to the beginners meadow are gentle slopes, which become imperceptibly steeper, enabling you to improve without fear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the summer, they nest along stream bottoms and areas with gentle slopes.’
      gradual, slight, easy, imperceptible
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  • 1Make or become gentle; calm or pacify.

    [no object] ‘Cobb's tone gentled a little’
    • ‘He gave me an apologetic smile; the arms around me instantly gentled and he took a small step away from me.’
    • ‘Jesse gentled his grip but his eyes remained hard as they scanned over Joel's injuries.’
    • ‘Thus, we noticed that the no-nonsense lines of the building have been gentled by a topiary maze in the foreground.’
    • ‘The sun laid the previous day to rest, and gentled the fears of the night.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 grabbed the side of her face, and gentled the kiss, as if she were a fragile piece of glass.’
    • ‘The journey back wasn't half as bad as the one up and soon the harshness of the landscape was gentled with green.’
    • ‘He looked to the sky and calmed the storm, gentling the wind and made the snow fall thinner.’
    • ‘Clark's voice is reminiscent of Matt Mays gentled down a bit.’
    • ‘‘Sorry’ he said gentling his touch a bit when he heard her gasp.’
    • ‘We waited till after tea, when the fierce sun of the afternoon had gentled into a golden glow.’
    • ‘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?’’
    • ‘His face gentled, and he touched his forehead to the other's.’
    • ‘He rubbed her chest, and gentled her, encouraging: ‘That's good, mate.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hands that held her upper arms gentled, though they did not relinquish their hold.’
    • ‘She gentled the kiss, kissing him back softly, slowly, until his rage had melted away.’
    • ‘His fingers tightened on her arm painfully, and gentled at her involuntary hiss.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1[with object]Make (an animal) docile by gentle handling.
      ‘a bird that has been gentled enough to sit on the hand’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They had her gentled at a trainer's farm and then they kept her for a few years as a simple backyard riding pony.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘You gentled him, taught him to lead, broke him, and everything.’


Middle English: from Old French gentil highborn, 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).