The quality of gentleness is colloquially understood to be that of kindness, consideration and amiability.  Aristotle used it in a technical sense as the virtue that strikes the mean with regard to anger: being too quick to anger is a vice, but so is being detached in a situation where anger is appropriate; justified and properly focused anger is named mildness or gentleness.
Another usage of gentleness is in its relation to the Christian virtue of kindness. It is one of the "fruits of the spirit" or defining noble characteristics of a Christian found in Galatians 5:22-23: "v22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, v23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (English Standard Version (ESV)).
A third important usage was common in medieval times, associated with higher social classes: hence the derivation of the terms gentleman, gentlewoman and gentry. The broadening of gentle behavior from a literal sense of the gentry to the metaphorical "like a gentleman" applicable to any person was a later development.
- Garrett, Jan. "Virtue Ethics: A Basic Introductory Essay".
- Lewis, C.S. (2001). Mere Christianity. San Francisco: Harper. pp. xiii. ISBN 978-0060652920.
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