Definition of gentle adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈdʒentl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʒentl//
    BrE BrE//ˈdʒentlə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʒentlər//
    , gentlest
    BrE BrE//ˈdʒentlɪst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʒentlɪst//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  calm and kind; doing things in a quiet and careful way a quiet and gentle man a gentle voice/laugh/touch She was the gentlest of nurses. He lived in a gentler age than ours. Be gentle with her! She agreed to come, after a little gentle persuasion. He looks scary but he's really a gentle giant. See related entries: Kind
  2. 2  (of weather, temperature, etc.) not strong or extreme a gentle breeze the gentle swell of the sea Cook over a gentle heat.
  3. 3  having only a small effect; not strong or violent We went for a gentle stroll. a little gentle exercise This soap is very gentle on the hands.
  4. 4  not steep or sharp a gentle slope/curve/angle
  5. see also gently
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French gentil ‘high-born, noble’, from Latin gentilis ‘of the same clan’, from gens, gent- ‘family, race’, from the root of gignere ‘beget’. The original sense was ‘nobly born’, hence ‘courteous, chivalrous’, later ‘mild, moderate in action or disposition’ (mid 16th cent.).Extra examples She was very gentle with the children. The new treatments are gentle on your hair. ‘Don’t worry, just relax,’ Louise’s voice was gentle. He looks scary, but he’s really a gentle giant. He was a young man with a quiet, gentle manner. She agreed to come, after a little gentle persuasion. The professor gave a gentle smile.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: gentle