There are 2 main definitions of gentle in English:


Syllabification: gen·tle
Pronunciation: /ˈjen(t)l

adjective (gentler, gentlest)

1(Of a person) mild in temperament or behavior; kind or tender: he was a gentle, sensitive man
More example sentences
  • The beloved is portrayed as gentle, sensitive, tender and compassionate.
  • He is exposed as a complex character, gentle, understanding, patient and loving in private.
  • The minister, though gentle in character, is firm of purpose.
kind, tender, sympathetic, considerate, understanding, compassionate, benevolent, good-natured;
mild, placid, serene, sweet-tempered
1.1 archaic (Of a person) noble or having the qualities attributed to noble birth; courteous; chivalrous.
More example sentences
  • She could be described as a refined, gentle lady, with admirable intellectual qualities.
  • 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.
2Moderate in action, effect, or degree; not harsh or severe: a little gentle persuasion a gentle breeze
More example sentences
  • You can also employ gentle persuasion and subtlety to excellent effect.
  • Just before I pass out, strong yet gentle arms pick me up.
  • Yet the softness of the edges of the silhouettes and the equal softness of the charcoal surfaces produce a soothing, gentle effect.
2.1(Of a slope) gradual: a gentle embankment
More example sentences
  • They were doing it the easy way round - gentle slope followed by breakneck descent, but it was clearly regarded as a children-friendly route.
  • The first part of the hill was quite easy - a gentle slope that flattened off into a brief plateau.
  • Close to the beginners meadow are gentle slopes, which become imperceptibly steeper, enabling you to improve without fear.
gradual, slight, easy


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1Make or become gentle; calm or pacify: [no object]: Cobb’s tone gentled a little
More example sentences
  • 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?’
  • He looked to the sky and calmed the storm, gentling the wind and made the snow fall thinner.
  • The journey back wasn't half as bad as the one up and soon the harshness of the landscape was gentled with green.
1.1 [with object] Make (an animal) docile by gentle handling: a bird that has been gentled enough to sit on the hand
More example sentences
  • The remarkableness of this accomplishment was that Smith also gentled these horses with a broken foot in a cast.
  • They had her gentled at a trainer's farm and then they kept her for a few years as a simple backyard riding pony.
  • Do gentled and trained mustangs serve a useful purpose?


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).



More example sentences
  • So many of her pupils were pleasantly influenced by her gentleness, kindness and concern for every child.
  • The way he created his phrasing has shaped my own playing, and I love the gentleness of his sound.
  • Morgan brought the journal into his room, where he laid it upon the desk in an almost tender gentleness.


More example sentences
  • When it comes to the boil, add the pasta, stirring gently to ensure that it does not stick.
  • Remove the gelatine leaves from the cold water and gently squeeze out excess water.
  • She also told me I should have been gently exercising the leg instead of staying in bed.

Definition of gentle in:

There are 2 main definitions of gentle in English:


Line breaks: gen¦tle
Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛntl/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


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


late 16th century: probably from an obsolete sense of the adjective, 'soft, pliant'.

Definition of gentle in: