gentle vs mollify what difference

what is difference between gentle and mollify



From Middle English gentil (courteous, noble), from Old French gentil (high-born, noble), from Latin gentilis (of the same family or clan), from gens ([Roman] clan). Doublet of gentile and genteel.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛntl̩/
  • (General American) enPR: jĕn′tl, IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛntl̩/, [ˈd͡ʒɛ̃ɾ̃l̩]
  • Hyphenation: gen‧tle


gentle (comparative gentler or more gentle, superlative gentlest or most gentle)

  1. Tender and amiable; of a considerate or kindly disposition.
  2. Soft and mild rather than hard or severe.
  3. Docile and easily managed.
    a gentle horse
  4. Gradual rather than steep or sudden.
  5. Polite and respectful rather than rude.
  6. (archaic) Well-born; of a good family or respectable birth, though not noble.
    • 1823, Walter Scott, Peveril of the Peak
      “You are of gentle blood,” she said []
    • 1893-1897, Charles Kendal Adams (editor), Johnsons Universal Encyclopedia
      British society is divided into nobility, gentry, and yeomanry, and families are either noble, gentle, or simple.


  • (polite): friendly, kind, polite, respectful


  • (polite): rude

Derived terms



gentle (third-person singular simple present gentles, present participle gentling, simple past and past participle gentled)

  1. (intransitive) to become gentle
    • 2013, Kathryn L.M. Reynolds, Garland Roses, Kathryn L.M. Reynolds (→ISBN), page 226
      “She’s experienced a horrific and nasty scare and is in a state of shock, but otherwise she’s relatively okay.” Conrad replied, his tone at first grim (as he recalled what he’d seen in the family room) and then it gentled to a more doctorial tone as he directed his next comments to his patient.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) to ennoble
    • c. 1599, Henry V, by Shakespeare, Act IV Scene III
      […] For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, / This day shall gentle his condition […]
  3. (transitive, animal husbandry) to break; to tame; to domesticate
    • 2008, Frank Leslie, The Killing Breed, Penguin (→ISBN)
      Yakima could have tried to catch him, gentle him as Wolf had been gentled, but having two stallions in his cavvy would lead to a different kind of trouble.
  4. (transitive) To soothe; to calm; to make gentle.
    • 1996, William C. Loring, An American Romantic-realist Abroad: Templeton Strong and His Music, Scarecrow Press (→ISBN), page 201
      A hornist, his playing gentled by perspective, is out of sight within the woods, but his notes are heard through or over the murmuring mix of bird song and breeze in leaves.


gentle (plural gentles)

  1. (archaic) A person of high birth.
    • 2012, Lizzie Stark, Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games, Chicago Review Press (→ISBN), page 43:
      While actual medieval societies were full of lots of peasants and a few rich and noble gentles, SCA personas tend to be nobles rather than commoners.
  2. (fishing) A maggot used as bait by anglers.
  3. A trained falcon, or falcon-gentil.


Alternative forms

  • mollifie


From Middle English mollifien, from Late Latin mollificō, from Latin mollis (soft).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɒlɪfaɪ/


mollify (third-person singular simple present mollifies, present participle mollifying, simple past and past participle mollified)

  1. To ease a burden, particularly worry; make less painful; to comfort.
    • 1893, Henry George, The Condition of Labor: An Open Letter to Pope Leo XIII, p. 104:
      All that charity can do where injustice exists is here and there to somewhat mollify the effects of injustice.
    • 1997, A Government Reinvented: A Study of Alberta’s Deficit Elimination Program, p. 408:
      The draft Charter School Handbook issued in November 1994 sought to mollify concerns over teacher quality, if not ATA membership, by requiring teacher certification.
  2. To appease (anger), pacify, gain the good will of.
    • 1867, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, chapter 2:
      Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that might have softened the heart of a church-warden, it by no means mollified the beadle.
    • 1916, L. Frank Baum, Rinkitink in Oz, chapter 5:
      The angry goat was quite mollified by the respectful tone in which he was addressed.
    • 2016 January 31, “Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton’s Secret Weapon or Her Next Big Problem?,” Vanity Fair (retrieved 21 January 2016):
      But these answers did not mollify Grassley. Specifically, he objected to Abedin’s becoming an S.G.E., because he believed she provided no irreplaceable expertise and therefore her designation as one had violated Congress’s intent when it created the program, in 1962.
  3. To soften; to make tender
    • 1662, Henry More, An Antidote Against Atheism, Book III, A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More, p. 113:
      “Nor is it any more difficulty for him to mollifie what is hard, then it is to harden what is so soft and fluid as the Aire.”
    • 1724, William Burkitt, Expository Notes, with Practical Observations on the New Testament, p. 102:
      By thy kindness thou wilt melt and mollify his spirit towards thee, as hardest metals are melted by coals of fire …


  • (to ease a burden): assuage, calm, comfort, mitigate, soothe
  • (to appease): appease, conciliate, pacify, placate, propitiate, satisfy
  • (to soften): soften, soften up, tenderize, temper, anneal, deharden, distemper
  • See also Thesaurus:calm

Related terms

  • emollient
  • mollification


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