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Line breaks: hum¦ble
Pronunciation: /ˈhʌmb(ə)l

Definition of humble in English:

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] Back to top  
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


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


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.



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.


Example sentences
  • I will be the first to openly admit where my guilt lies in this matter, and have humbly admitted this to all who have become involved.
  • Rather than tearing at each others's throats, therefore, we should humbly admit our limitations.
  • I humbly ask that these and 68 similar offences are taken into consideration.

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