1. Well-born; of a good family or respectable birth, though not noble. "British society is divided into nobility, gentry, and yeomanry, and families are either noble, gentle, or simple." (Johnson's Cyc) "The studies wherein our noble and gentle youth ought to bestow their time." (Milton)

2. Quiet and refined in manners; not rough, harsh, or stern; mild; meek; bland; amiable; tender; as, a gentle nature, temper, or disposition; a gentle manner; a gentle address; a gentle voice.

3. A compellative of respect, consideration, or conciliation; as, gentle reader. "Gentle sirs." "Gentle Jew." "Gentle servant."

4. Not wild, turbulent, or refractory; quiet and docile; tame; peaceable; as, a gentle horse.

5. Soft; not violent or rough; not strong, loud, or disturbing; easy; soothing; pacific; as, a gentle touch; a gentle gallop. "Gentle music." "O sleep! it is a gentle thing." (Coleridge) The gentle craft, the art or trade of shoemaking.

Synonyms: Mild, meek, placid, dovelike, quiet, peaceful, pacific, bland, soft, tame, tractable, docile.

Gentle, Tame, Mild, Meek. Gentle describes the natural disposition; tame, that which is subdued by training; mild implies a temper which is, by nature, not easily provoked; meek, a spirit which has been schooled to mildness by discipline or suffering. The lamb is gentle; the domestic fowl is tame; John, the Apostle, was mild; Moses was meek.

Origin: OE. Gentil, F. Gentil noble, pretty, graceful, fr. L. Gentilis of the same clan or race, fr. Gens, gentis, tribe, clan, race, orig. That which belongs together by birth, fr. The root of genere, gignere, to beget; hence gentle, properly, of birth or family, that is, of good or noble birth. See Gender, and cf. Genteel, Gentil, Gentile, Gentoo, Jaunty.

1. One well born; a gentleman. "Gentles, methinks you frown."

2. A trained falcon. See Falcon-gentil.

3. <zoology> A dipterous larva used as fish bait.

(01 Mar 1998)

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