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adjective hum·ble \ˈhəm-bəl also chiefly Southern ˈəm-\

Simple Definition of humble

  • : not proud : not thinking of yourself as better than other people

  • : given or said in a way that shows you do not think you are better than other people

  • : showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people

Full Definition of humble

hum·bler play \-b(ə-)lər\ hum·blest play \-b(ə-)ləst\

  1. 1 :  not proud or haughty :  not arrogant or assertive

  2. 2 :  reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission <a humble apology>

  3. 3 a :  ranking low in a hierarchy or scale :  insignificant, unpretentious b :  not costly or luxurious <a humble contraption>

hum·ble·ness play \-bəl-nəs\ noun
hum·bly play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of humble

  1. Humble though it may be, and about as glamorous as a galosh, it is a fish that has shaped the political and social history of Europe like no other, with the possible exception of cod. —R. W. Apple, Jr., New York Times, 30 Oct. 2002

  2. She would not come closer to me, as much as I thought she wished to, hungering not for anything like love but for plain, humble succor. —Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life, 1999

  3. Women are the organizing soft-centered socialists, the nice people, the sugar-and-spice lot, identifying with the poor and humble; men are snips and snails and puppy-dog tails, and rampant, selfish, greedy capitalists. —Fay Weldon, Harper's, May 1998

  4. Despite all his achievements, he has remained humble.

  5. He is very humble about his achievements.

  6. She is too humble to let praise go to her head.

  7. Please accept my humble apologies.

  8. Her humble suggestion is that we review the data more carefully.

  9. He comes from a humble background.

  10. She's not ashamed of her humble beginnings.

Origin of humble

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthōn earth, chamai on the ground

First Known Use: 13th century



verb hum·ble \ˈhəm-bəl also chiefly Southern ˈəm-\

Simple Definition of humble

  • : to make (someone) feel less important or proud : to make (someone) humble

  • : to easily defeat (someone or something) in a way that is surprising or not expected

Full Definition of humble

hum·bledhum·bling play \-b(ə-)liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make (someone) humble (see 1humble) in spirit or manner

  3. 2 :  to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of

hum·bler play \-b(ə-)lər\ noun
hum·bling·ly play \-b(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of humble

  1. Cuba's reliance on tourism is a somewhat humbling turn for the revolution, which has long prided itself on producing topflight doctors and teachers—not concierges. —Tim Padgett, Time, 22 Dec. 2003

  2. … audiences loved to see villains punished and arrogant young men humbled, they did not want to fidget and squirm through mea culpas before the final scene. —Elaine Showalter, Civilization, April/May 1999

  3. It frightened and humbled him but also made him feel darkly charmed. —Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991

  4. Her success has humbled her critics.

  5. Last year's champion was humbled by an unknown newcomer.

Origin of humble

(see 1humble)

First Known Use: 14th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up humble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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