Gentle vs genteel

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Gentle means having a mild manner or character, not harsh in temperate. Gentle may also describe a slight slope or easily tamed animal. Gentle may be used as an adjective or a verb, related words are gentles, gentled, gentling. An archaic use of gentle is to describe someone of noble birth or someone who is chivalrous. Gentle comes from the Latin word gentilis which means of the same family or clan, taking on the meaning of being mild-mannered in the fifteenth century.

Genteel means refined, polite, well-bred. Genteel is an adjective, derived from the Middle French word gentil  which means stylish, elegant, graceful, pleasing. Genteel entered the English language around 1590.


Mr Oliver, a stalwart at Highgate Tennis Club, was described by friends and members as a “gentle giant” who was a “loving and caring” person in the community. (The Evening Standard)

‘They are doing a very gentle bombing because they don’t want to pollute the atmosphere,’ Trump said at a rally tonight in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (The Daily Mail)

Mocking Donald Trump as a “gentle soul” afraid of tough questions at the debate he’s ditching Thursday night, Ted Cruz dared him to a two-man debate on Saturday night with any moderator of his choice, or none at all. (The Dallas Morning News)

Tánaiste Joan Burton had a genteel start to her election campaigning on Wednesday afternoon, with Minister of State at the Department of Justice Aodhán Ó Riordáin in Clontarf, Dublin. (The Irish Times)

Bush even ventured as far as to brand Trump a “loser” recently—basically the equivalent of a four-letter word in the vocabulary of the genteel former Florida governor, who recently joked to a New Hampshire crowd that he had called his mom to apologize after calling Trump a “jerk.” (Mother Jones Magazine)

Aficionados of the genteel card game were ensnared in a junta crackdown on corruption after a Thai woman with a grudge against a foreign ex-boyfriend made a complaint of illicit gambling. (The Telegraph)