Definition of modest in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɒdɪst/


1Unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements: he was a very modest man, refusing to take any credit for the enterprise
More example sentences
  • He is a quiet, unassuming lad and so modest about his many talents.
  • He's modest about his achievements, self-effacing about his music and finds an old-fashioned dignity in hard work.
  • Despite the magnitude of her work, I find Kate surprisingly down to earth and genuinely modest about the achievements she will leave behind when she hands over the reins on her 65th birthday.
self-effacing, self-deprecating, humble, unpretentious, unassuming, unpresuming, unostentatious, low-key, free from vanity, keeping one's light under a bushel;
shy, bashful, self-conscious, diffident, timid, reserved, retiring, media-shy, reticent, quiet, coy, embarrassed, shamefaced, blushing, fearful, meek, docile, mild, apologetic;
Scottish  mim
2(Of an amount, rate, or level) relatively moderate, limited, or small: drink modest amounts of alcohol employment growth was relatively modest
More example sentences
  • Let's find the relatively modest amounts needed to fund things people want, and let's do it without chopping away at other programs with an axe.
  • Australia has long had a remarkably good university system, and used relatively modest levels of public investment in higher education very effectively.
  • A relatively modest amount of money could fund programs that would have a significant impact on smoking in Canada and allow those looking to quit to find help.
moderate, fair, tolerable, passable, adequate, satisfactory, acceptable, unexceptional, small;
light, limited, scanty, skimpy, frugal, meagre, sparse
2.1Not large, elaborate, or expensive: a modest flat in Fulham it was a nice wedding, necessarily modest
More example sentences
  • They take great pride in showing their houses, modest flats on the outside, but inside renovated kitchens and bathrooms and all the mod cons amongst the religious icons.
  • Our venue became too expensive for our modest means.
  • Through the darkness I could make out a modest, tan coloured house with an overgrown garden and grubby looking shudders drooping from the windows.
small, ordinary, simple, plain, humble, homely;
inexpensive, low-cost, cheap, poor;
3(Of a woman) dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention: the modest women wear long-sleeved dresses and all but cover their faces
More example sentences
  • We see that one should look for a proper, modest woman to be his wife, in order to have an eternal loving relationship.
  • She tells him to find a pretty and modest girl whom he respects and to wait until he's through with college, because he's not half good enough for whoever the girl is.
  • In other words, nice girls are modest and demure.
3.1(Of clothing) not revealing or emphasizing a person’s figure: modest dress means that hemlines must be below the knee
More example sentences
  • My mother showed up dressed in a modest skirt and jacket along with my little brothers, Robert and Connor.
  • Some were dressed in very modest gowns, while others were practically falling out of their bodices.
  • Finally, I was standing in my under garments and fumbled around in the twilight for some modest clothing.
decorous, decent, seemly, demure, sober, severe;
coy, proper, discreet, delicate, chaste, virtuous


Mid 16th century: from French modeste, from Latin modestus 'keeping due measure', related to modus 'measure'.

Words that rhyme with modest

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