Simple Definition of modest
: not very large in size or amount
: not too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities : not showing or feeling great or excessive pride
of clothing : not showing too much of a person's body
Full Definition of modest
1 a : placing a moderate estimate on one's abilities or worth b : neither bold nor self-assertive : tending toward diffidence
2 : arising from or characteristic of a modest nature
4 a : limited in size, amount, or scope <a family of modest means> b : unpretentious <a modest home>
Examples of modest
The foundry work was grueling, but for a little longer Brierfield afforded these African Americans a way station of modest freedom and a residue of authentic independence that was fast disappearing for most rural blacks. —Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name, 2008
… these remnants he lacked the will to discard, depressed him, deepening the low fever of depression in which even as modest a task as removing a blue doorknob loomed like a mountain almost impossible to climb. —John Updike, Harper's, October 2004
You're the hero, so then you have to behave in a certain way—there is a prescription for it. You have to be modest, you have to be forbearing, you have to be deferential, you have to be understanding. —Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997
They own a modest home near the beach.
She enjoyed modest success with her singing career.
He earns a modest income.
We live on a modest budget.
New cars are now available at relatively modest prices.
He has only a modest amount of knowledge on the subject.
It is a book of only modest importance.
She's very modest about her achievements.
Don't be so modest. Your performance was wonderful!
“I'm not a hero. I was just doing my job,” he said in his characteristically modest way.
Origin of modest
Latin modestus moderate; akin to Latin modus measure
First Known Use: 1565
Synonym Discussion of modest
chaste, pure, modest, decent mean free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. chaste primarily implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows <they maintained chaste relations>. pure differs from chaste in implying innocence and absence of temptation rather than control of one's impulses and actions <the pure of heart>. modest and decent apply especially to deportment and dress as outward signs of inward chastity or purity <preferred more modest swimsuits> <decent people didn't go to such movies>.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up modest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).