The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gentle \Gen"tle\, a. [Compar. Gentler; superl. Gentlest.]
[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,
1. Well-born; of a good family or respectable birth, though
British society is divided into nobility, gentry,
and yeomanry, and families are either noble, gentle,
or simple. --Johnson's
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
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." --Sir J. Davies.
O sleep! it is a gentle thing. --Coleridge.
The gentle craft, the art or trade of shoemaking.
Syn: Mild; meek; placid; dovelike; quiet; peaceful; pacific;
bland; soft; tame; tractable; docile.
Usage: 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.