humbler ˈhəm-b(ə-)lər ; humblest ˈhəm-b(ə-)ləst
: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : insignificant, unpretentious
: not costly or luxurious
a humble contraption
humbled; humbling ˈhəm-b(ə-)liŋ
Adjective 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 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 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 Despite all his achievements, he has remained humble. He is very humble about his achievements. She is too humble to let praise go to her head. Please accept my humble apologies. Her humble suggestion is that we review the data more carefully. He comes from a humble background. She's not ashamed of her humble beginnings. Verb 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 … 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 It frightened and humbled him but also made him feel darkly charmed. —Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991 Her success has humbled her critics. Last year's champion was humbled by an unknown newcomer. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
AdjectiveThe model and actress, née Vickie Lynn Hogan, made a name for herself in Hollywood despite her humble beginnings. —Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 12 May 2023 Of all the dishes at Dunsmoor restaurant in Glassell Park — cooked over a hearth at chef-owner Brian Dunsmoor’s ode to regional American dining — the one that might leave the greatest impression is a humble bowl of stew. —Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2023 Her mixed-media abstractions, full of colors that are both ripe and bruised, odd forms, and occasional patterns, honor the humble and overlooked like landmarks of memory. —Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 10 May 2023 The cost of flour, water and eggs, pasta’s humble chief ingredients, are typically low, but have fluctuated recently. —Mario Cortez, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2023 While his performance at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas marked a momentous victory in his wrestling career, Woods is staying humble and looking ahead to what comes next. —Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 7 May 2023 But in practically every iteration, a bowl of rice is topped with a thick layer of deliciousness and served in proportions that vary from the very humble to the deeply extravagant. —Bryan Washington, New York Times, 3 May 2023 This humble spot does a brisk take-out business, though there are a few tables inside as well as outdoor seating. —Leslie Kelly, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 Overview Hidden behind the luxury façade of the 2023 Lincoln Corsair lurks a humble Ford Escape, but a thick veneer of premium materials effectively masks its middle-class origins. —Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 14 Apr. 2023
VerbHolmes might have a humbling first job at the prison, according to a former inmate at the facility. MORE: Ex-Theranos employees describe culture of secrecy at Elizabeth Holmes' startup: 'The Dropout' podcast ep. —Luke Barr, ABC News, 30 May 2023 Since that humbling loss, South has been on an impressive run, outscoring its last eight opponents 46-5 during the winning streak. —Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2023 Craig, possibly humbled by the opportunity, doesn't try to jazz up Blume. —A.a. Dowd, Chron, 27 Apr. 2023 Kendall Graveman is ‘humbled’ by Team USA opportunity. —Chicago Tribune, 18 Feb. 2023 The fact that a woman as fully optimized as Chopra Jonas would demand more of herself is humbling. —Sara Austin, ELLE, 28 Apr. 2023 But, famous for their bluster, that early defeat did not humble them. —Tania Ganguli, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2023 On his podcast, the future NFL player said he was honored and humbled when Aaron's brother Jordan Rodgers compared Young's skills to that of Aaron. —Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 25 Apr. 2023 And honestly, there were so many life moments that happened for me that humbled me, so this was really purely joy. —Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'humble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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