If something needs to be done with great care and caution, you should do it gingerly — like gingerly holding a newborn baby or gingerly creeping down the creaky stairs when you're trying to sneak out.

Before it came to mean “extremely cautiously” in 1600, gingerly meant “elegantly, daintily.” In fact, it stems from the Latin word gentius, meaning “(well)-born.” But today it has less to do with elegance and more to do with a delicate touch, usually used to avoid hurting something or someone. For example, you might want to gingerly hug your friend with the broken rib to avoid making her wince in pain.

Definitions of gingerly
  1. adverb
    in a manner marked by extreme care or delicacy
    gingerly I raised the edge of the blanket”
  2. adjective
    with extreme care or delicacy
    “they proceeded with gingerly footwork over the jagged stones”
    “"the issue was handled only in a gingerly way"- W.S.White”
    showing careful forethought
Word Family
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