mod·​es·​ty | \ ˈmä-də-stē How to pronounce modesty (audio) \

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 The majority showed judicial modesty by rejecting the invitation to rewrite the law in order to rescue it. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "‘Scandalous’ Speech Is Protected," 24 June 2019 Coach Bill Sharman said at the time, casting aside traditional coaching modesty. New York Times, "Lakers and LeBron James Can Tie Road Wins Record This Week," 16 Dec. 2019 Cosentino said that in the ancient Greek telling, Odysseus is seen as the hero, while Penelope represents loyalty, patience and modesty. cleveland, "Ensemble Theatre’s ‘The Penelopiad’ tells the story of the Odyssey from another angle," 5 Oct. 2019 Fashion and sports have historically shared a lot of the same inclusion problems as brands have struggled to serve plus-size customers and create inclusive design that meets the needs of women with disabilities or differing standards of modesty. Ana Colón, Glamour, "Nike Is Launching Modest Swimsuits," 10 Dec. 2019 When George Herbert Walker Bush died, a standard feature of the memorials was to celebrate his Waspy virtues of modesty, considerateness, and public spiritedness, in sharp contrast to the bombastic fool who occupies the Oval Office today. Doug Henwood, Harper's magazine, "To Serve Is to Rule," 28 Oct. 2019 Are there things in common with Canada’s reputation for modesty and the Midwestern sensibility here in the states of not tolerating big egos? Nina Metz,, "Noel Fisher on Mickey Milkovich returning to the Gallagher fold for ‘Shameless’ Season 10," 6 Nov. 2019 Tourists will still be required to dress modesty and Mecca remains off-limits for non-Muslims. Joseph Hincks, Time, "Saudi Arabia Is Opening Its Doors to Foreign Tourists for the First Time," 27 Sep. 2019 After months of Netanyahu’s posturing and incitement against Arabs, leftists, and the media, the unself-conscious modesty and gravitas with which Gantz spoke seemed deceptively refreshing, if only for the moment. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, "Benjamin Netanyahu Can’t Form a Government—Can Benny Gantz?," 30 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for modesty

Time Traveler

The first known use of modesty was in 1531

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Statistics for modesty

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Modesty.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for modesty


How to pronounce modesty (audio)

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 How to pronounce modesty (audio) \

Kids Definition of modesty

: the quality of being decent or not boastful

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Comments on modesty

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