DIMENSIONS: DENOTATION / Quality
R E F E R E N C E S
Gentle adj. 1. kindly or amiable. 2. mild; not severe, rough, or violent; moderate. 3. gradual: a gentle slope. 4. of good birth or family; wellborn. 5. characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable. 6. easily handled or managed; tractable. 7. soft or low: a gentle sound. 8. polite; refined. 9. entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous. 10. Archaic. noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight. -v.t. 11. to tame; render tractable. 12. to molify; calm; pacify. 13. to make gentle. 14. to stroke; soothe by petting. 15. obs. to ennoble; dignify. [ME gentle, gentil(e) < OF gentil highborn, noble < L gentil(is) belonging to the same family]
-Syn. 1. peaceful, soothing; humane, lenient, merciful. Gentle, Meek, Mild refer to an absence of bad temper or belligerence. Gentle has reference esp. to disposition and behavior, and often suggests a deliberate or voluntary kindness or forbearance in dealing with others; a gentle pat; gentle with children. Meek implies a submissive spirit, and may even indicate undue submission in the face of insult or injustice; meek and even servile. Mild suggests absence of harshness or severity, rather because of natural character of temperament than conscious choice: a mild rebuke; a mild manner. 2. temperate. 4. noble. 6. manageable, docile, tame. 8. courteous. -Ant. 1. harsh, cruel. 6. wild, unruly.
[Urdang, Laurence, ed. Random House Dictionary of The English Language. New York: Random House, 1968.]
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