mod·​es·​ty | \ˈmä-də-stē \

Definition of modesty 

1 : the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities She accepted the award with modesty.

2 : propriety in dress, speech, or conduct The young man was known for his modesty.

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Examples of modesty in a Sentence

She accepted the award with modesty. He is known for his modesty, an uncommon characteristic for a politician. There was no false modesty in her victory speech. the modesty of her clothing
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Recent Examples on the Web

Potomac Watch Podcast Judge Kavanaugh has also demonstrated judicial modesty on foreign policy by upholding the executive’s collection of metadata and use of military commissions to prosecute enemy combatants. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Kavanaugh for the Court," 9 July 2018 Dutschke had little appreciation for the surreal and the absurd sides of leftist politics, and his influence stemmed from his modesty and inclusiveness. Alan Wolfe, The New Republic, "A Most Violent Year," 18 May 2018 Maybe in the two years since, people have become wise to the fraudulent show of modesty. Jonathan Jones,, "Jerry Richardson's Hubris Remains Immortalized in His Statue," 10 July 2018 His distaste for self-aggrandizement embodied the Wesleyan requirement of modesty. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 The sheer back alluded to skin while retaining a hint of modesty, while the slit down the spine was a natty touch. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Victoria Beckham Has a Dressy Date Night with Brooklyn," 27 June 2018 Some of the women have placed their hands in poses that protect their modesty. Mike Giuliano, Howard County Times, "From the studio to the gallery," 8 June 2018 That modesty is typical of the Chinese food world, where there’s a big difference between the gourmets (culinary scholars who propose recipes) and the cooks (the guys who actually execute those recipes). Casey Quackenbush / Hong Kong, Time, "'We're Not Educated.' The Untold Story of Lung King Heen, the World's First Michelin Three-Star Chinese Restaurant," 12 July 2018 Followers of Islam believe fasting teaches patience, modesty, and spirituality. Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "A Mecklenburg inmate signed up for Ramadan fast. Now he's suing because he got hungry.," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modesty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of modesty

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Dictionary Entries near modesty

modern school




modesty panel



Statistics for modesty

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Time Traveler for modesty

The first known use of modesty was in 1531

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More Definitions for modesty



English Language Learners Definition of modesty

: the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities

: the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention


mod·​es·​ty | \ˈmä-də-stē \

Kids Definition of modesty

: the quality of being decent or not boastful

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Comments on modesty

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


playful or foolish behavior

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