Definition of humble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhʌmb(ə)l/

adjective (humbler, humblest)

1Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance: I felt very humble when meeting her
More example sentences
  • He's so humble and modest; I'm someone who literally brags when he goes to the gym, so it's pretty cool to come across such selflessness.
  • Can you be stinking rich and love yourself and be proud of yourself and yet be humble and modest as well?
  • These executives and managers are humble, fearless, modest, and willful with endless reserves of energy.
meek, deferential, respectful, submissive, self-effacing, unassertive, unpresuming;
obsequious, sycophantic, servile;
Scottish  mim
archaic resistless
1.1(Of an action or thought) offered with or affected by a modest estimate of one’s importance: my humble apologies
More example sentences
  • All this was attended to in a professional and caring manner, whilst offering humble apologies for the state of the equipment they were forced to endure.
  • At that point, offer your humble apologies and cancel the message.
  • In my humble opinion, a beard can perform double duty as being a source of comfort and enjoyment, as well as looking sharp.
2Of low social, administrative, or political rank: she came from a humble, unprivileged background
More example sentences
  • He was from a humble social background, raised either in a village or an orphanage.
  • These official inscriptions were produced in substantial quantities, in contrast to the small number of inscriptions produced by more humble social groups.
  • The party's rise also provided an opportunity for people of humble social origins to enter politics.
low-ranking, low, lowly, lower-class, plebeian, proletarian, working-class, undistinguished, poor, mean, ignoble, of low birth, low-born, of low rank;
common, commonplace, ordinary, simple, inferior, unimportant, unremarkable, insignificant, inconsequential
informal plebby
archaic baseborn
3(Of a thing) of modest pretensions or dimensions: he built the business empire from humble beginnings
More example sentences
  • They then proceeded to torch the humble dwellings of the farm workers, presumably to ensure that they would not try to return to the village.
  • Even though my dwelling is both humble and modest I still find the quarterly levy feels like more than I can afford.
  • Despite their humble beginnings, they are an internationally recognised and respected organisation.


[with object]
1Cause (someone) to feel less important or proud: he was humbled by his many ordeals
More example sentences
  • Experiencing his mercy should humble us, fill us with gratitude, and move us to be merciful toward those around us.
  • But we should see it through to the very end, totally humble these people, then build them back up so they may actually give back to civilization.
  • I think that sometimes, that is what humbles me most.
humiliate, abase, demean, belittle, lower, degrade, debase, bring down, bring low;
mortify, shame, put to shame, abash, subdue, chasten, make someone eat humble pie, take down a peg or two
informal put down, cut down to size, settle someone's hash
North American informal make someone eat crow
1.1Decisively defeat (a sporting opponent previously thought to be superior): Wales were humbled at Cardiff Arms Park by Romania
More example sentences
  • They suffered a shock defeat to Puerto Rico in the opening game before being humbled by eventual winners Argentina in the semi-finals.
  • The leaders of the Second Division were humbled to a 94 run defeat at home to Pendle Forest.
  • They currently stand proudly atop Group A - but can they humble the hosts to stay there?
defeat, beat, beat hollow, crush, trounce, conquer, vanquish, rout, smash, overwhelm, get the better of, give a drubbing to, bring someone to their knees
North American informal shellac, blow out, cream, skunk
US informal own



eat humble pie

Make a humble apology and accept humiliation: he will have to eat humble pie at training after being sent off for punching
Humble pie is from a pun based on umbles 'offal', considered inferior food
More example sentences
  • The paper decides to eat humble pie, giving it a front page story and an apology, which seems to be 15 years too late.
  • Now, seven years later, we're eating humble pie.
  • This Board will not be eating humble pie as he suggested.

one's humble abode

Used to refer to one’s home with an ironic or humorous show of modesty: how to transform your humble abode into a top totty student bedroom in minutes!
More example sentences
  • I refer primarily to my humble abode, which is such a disaster that I fear I may come home to find the cats have run away to protest conditions.
  • To celebrate a relative's 80th birthday the whole family descended en-masse to our humble abode.
  • Currently, we don't even have a TV in my humble abode.

your humble servant

archaic or humorous Used at the end of a letter or as a form of ironic courtesy: your most humble servant, George Porter
More example sentences
  • Sponsor me and I'll be your humble servant for 24 hours on July 26th.
  • Until next month I remain your humble servant.
  • I declare myself to be only your humble servant.



Pronunciation: /ˈhʌmb(ə)lnəs/
Example sentences
  • She is truly a great lady and she seems to have kept her humility and humbleness with consultants in spite of the millions of dollars generated.
  • In all aspects of life, humility and humbleness are admired.
  • I feel this humbleness is exactly what Americans need.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin humilis 'low, lowly', from humus 'ground'.

  • A word that goes back to Latin humilis ‘low, lowly, base’, also found in humility (Middle English), which was formed from humus ‘earth’. English adopted it from French in the Middle Ages. Before the mid 19th century there was no humility involved in eating humble pie. Humble pie was more correctly umble pie, made from the ‘umbles’ or innards of a deer of other animal. People considered offal to be inferior food, so began to pun on the similar-sounding humble. The first recorded example of to eat humble pie, ‘to make a humble apology and accept humiliation’, is from a collection of the dialect of East Anglia, published in 1830.

Words that rhyme with humble

bumble, crumble, fumble, grumble, jumble, mumble, rough-and-tumble, rumble, scumble, stumble, tumble, umbel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hum¦ble

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