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let (one) down gently

To deliver bad news to someone in the kindest or least upsetting way possible. When you tell Ed that somebody already asked you to the dance, please let him down gently. I tried to let Susan down gently, but she burst into tears nonetheless.
See also: down, gently, let

let someone down gently

seek to give someone bad news in a way that avoids causing them too much distress or humiliation.
See also: down, gently, let, someone

ˌeasy/ˌgently/ˌslowly ˈdoes it

(informal) used for telling somebody to be careful, calm, etc: Easy does it! Just lift it a little bit and I think it’ll go through the door.
See also: does, easy, gently, slowly

break it (to someone) gently, to

To reveal bad news in a calm, soothing fashion. “With a design to break the matter gently to his partners,” wrote John Arbuthnot in 1712. In time the verb to break in the sense of “to tell” incorporated the idea of “gently,” making the cliché a tautology.
See also: break
References in periodicals archive ?
Pour the grenadine gently down the inside of the glass.
in the North East in the 1960s, Inspector George Gently and his sidekick DS John Bacchus, played by Martin Shaw, right, and Lee Ingleby, have been one of our most iconic TV cop duos.
Drama, 8pm Supported by UKTV Supported by UKTV Set in the North East in the 1960s, George Gently and his sidekick DS John Bacchus, playe d by Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby, have been one of our most iconic TV cop duos.
Availble as a 25-disc DVD set or as a 13-disc Blu-ray set, George Gently: The Complete Collection gathers the entire BBC detective drama series based on the riveting novels by Alan Hunter and starring award-nominated actor Martin Shaw as the respectable Detective George Gently.
INSPECTOR George Gently fans are set to see a satisfying ending for the characters as the period detective drama ends its decade-long run.
Ending Gently after a decade INSPECTOR George Gently fans are set to see a satisfying ending for the series' characters when the police drama bows out after a decade on screen.
Inspector George Gently BBC1, 8pm It's Christmas Eve 1969 and Gently is enjoying a spot of festive cheer until he gets the news that a bank has been hit by armed robbers and he and Bacchus have work to do.
AFAN of retro fashion, Lee Ingleby has done well out of his role in Sixties crime drama Inspector George Gently. Now eight series in, the actor has managed to snaffle his character's Harrington jacket and one of his sharp suits.
The chart-topper has been cast as Megan, a holiday camp entertainer, in the new series of BBC1 show, Inspector George Gently.
THERE'S nothing like a good, oldfashioned crime drama to entertain us on a Sunday evening, and they don't come much better than Inspector George Gently.
Lush's Pow Wow Lip Scrub, pounds 4.75, is a limited-edition festive version of their gently exfoliating lip goodie, complete with pop but definitely no lip crackle.
Inspector George Gently Sunday, BBC1, 8.30pm It's 1966, you know who won the World Cup, Harold Wilson and Labour won the General Election, and the Beatles released classic album Revolver.
IF a hot plate or cup has left a scorch mark on a wooden table try gently rubbing in a blob of mayonnaise.
Summary: A marriage counselor in the UAE is recommending husbands to whip their wives "gently" to get their messages across.
Interventional physicians, medical physicists, and radiologic technologists are encouraged to visit the Image Gently Web site ( to review these important materials and factor the information into their clinical decision making.