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

: 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

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

Full Definition of HUMBLE

:  not proud or haughty :  not arrogant or assertive
:  reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission <a humble apology>
a :  ranking low in a hierarchy or scale :  insignificant, unpretentious
b :  not costly or luxurious <a humble contraption>
hum·ble·ness \-bəl-nəs\ noun
hum·bly \-blē\ adverb

Examples of HUMBLE

  1. Despite all his achievements, he has remained humble.
  2. He is very humble about his achievements.
  3. She is too humble to let praise go to her head.
  4. Please accept my humble apologies.
  5. Her humble suggestion is that we review the data more carefully.
  6. He comes from a humble background.
  7. She's not ashamed of her humble beginnings.
  8. 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

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

Related to HUMBLE

demure, down-to-earth, lowly, meek, modest, unassuming, unpretentious
arrogant, bumptious, chesty, conceited, egotistic (or egotistical), fastuous, haughty, highfalutin (also hifalutin), high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, hoity-toity, huffish, huffy, imperious, lordly, overweening, peremptory, pompous, presuming, presumptuous, pretentious, self-asserting, self-assertive, supercilious, superior, toplofty (also toploftical), uppish, uppity


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

: 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

hum·bledhum·bling \-b(ə-)liŋ\

Full Definition of HUMBLE

transitive verb
:  to make (someone) humble (see 1humble) in spirit or manner
:  to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of
hum·bler \-b(ə-)lər\ noun
hum·bling·ly \-b(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of HUMBLE

  1. Her success has humbled her critics.
  2. Last year's champion was humbled by an unknown newcomer.
  3. 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

Origin of HUMBLE

(see 1humble)
First Known Use: 14th century


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