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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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of humble

humbler play \-b(ə-)lər\ humblest 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>

humbleness play \-bəl-nəs\ noun
humbly play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of humble in a sentence

  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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of humble

humbledhumbling 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

humbler play \-b(ə-)lər\ noun
humblingly play \-b(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of humble in a sentence

  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

HUMBLE Defined for Kids



adjective hum·ble \ˈhəm-bəl\

Definition of humble for Students


  1. 1 :  not regarding others as inferior :  not overly proud :  modest <She is humble despite her great success.>

  2. 2 :  expressed in a way that does not show too much pride <humble apologies>

  3. 3 :  low in rank or condition <They are people of humble origin.>

humbly \-blē\ adverb



verb hum·ble

Definition of humble for Students


  1. 1 :  to make modest <The failure humbled him.>

  2. 2 :  to easily and unexpectedly defeat <Our surprise attack humbled the enemy.>

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