adj. gen·tler, gen·tlest
1. Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender.
2. Not harsh or severe; mild and soft: a gentle scolding; a gentle tapping at the window.
3. Easily managed or handled; docile: a gentle horse.
4. Not steep or sudden; gradual: a gentle incline.
a. Of good family; wellborn: a child of gentle birth.
b. Suited to one of good breeding; refined and polite: a gentle greeting to a stranger.
6. Archaic Noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight.
One of good birth or relatively high station.
tr.v. gen·tled, gen·tling, gen·tles
1. To make less severe or intense: The peaceful sunset gentled her dreadful mood.
2. To soothe, as by stroking; pacify.
3. To tame or break (a horse).
4. Obsolete To raise to the status of a noble.
[Middle English gentil, courteous, noble, from Old French, from Latin gentīlis, of the same clan, from gēns, gent-, clan; see genə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus