For years I thought gingerly meant "with spirit or liveliness," I suppose because "spirit and liveliness" define the noun ginger.
But no; gingerly means "cautiously or carefully." How did it take on this meaning?
The Online Etymology Dictionary's entry is woefully unsatisfying:
gingerly (adv) 1510s, "elegantly, daintily," perhaps from Old French gensor, comp. of gent "dainty, delicate," from Latin gentius "(well)-born" (see gentle). Meaning "extremely cautiously" is from c.1600.