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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.