American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Softly; delicately; cautiously; mincingly; daintily: used especially with reference to manner of walking or handling.
- Cautious; mincing; dainty.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adv. Cautiously; timidly; fastidiously; daintily.
- adj. with extreme care or delicacy
- adv. in a gingerly manner
- (1510) Maybe from Old French gensor, comparative of gent ("nice, kind, pretty"), from Latin gentius ("well-born") (Wiktionary)
- Possibly alteration of obsolete French gensor, delicate, from Old French, comparative of gent, gentle; see gent1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“New Americans tested the label gingerly, often choosing to embrace multiple cultures.”
“Geoff Nunberg has a post at Language Log on the word gingerly: a NY Times story on Falluja included the statement "it was a gingerly first step," which pleased him by its proper use of gingerly as an adjective thanks to Tim May for catching my original misstatement!”
“Geoff Nunberg has a post at Language Log on the word gingerly: a NY Times story on Falluja included the statement "it was a gingerly first step," which provoked his automatic resistance.”
“He rose gingerly from the cart - two strokes and a broken hip in recent years make it hard for him to walk.”
“He pronounced the word gingerly, distastefully, as if it were a curious, unwonted one.”
“How can such dissimulation (I use that term gingerly) then be blamed on the ones being taught?”
“But I saw that fiction--he pronounced the word gingerly, as though it were something dangerous--is perhaps not, as I had thought, merely an inducement to idleness and wicked fancy.”
“But in fact I use that word gingerly the reader is being manipulated.”
“I have this notion that "gingerly" shouldn't be used as an adverb, as in, "she hugged the child gingerly," because there's no corresponding adjective "ginger.”
“I'll concede that "gingerly" has been used as an adverb for 400 years, and nobody's ever complained about it before.”
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