AskDefine | Define humble

Dictionary Definition

humble adj
1 low or inferior in station or quality; "a humble cottage"; "a lowly parish priest"; "a modest man of the people"; "small beginnings" [syn: low, lowly, modest, small]
2 marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful; "a humble apology"; "essentially humble...and self-effacing, he achieved the highest formal honors and distinctions"- B.K.Malinowski [ant: proud]
3 used of unskilled work (especially domestic work) [syn: menial, lowly]
4 of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense); "baseborn wretches with dirty faces"; "of humble (or lowly) birth" [syn: base, baseborn, lowly]


1 cause to be unpretentious; "This experience will humble him"
2 cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of; "He humiliated his colleague by criticising him in front of the boss" [syn: humiliate, mortify, chagrin, abase]

User Contributed Dictionary



, from humilis on the ground, low, from humus the earth, ground. See homage, and confer chameleon, humiliate.



  1. Near the ground; not high or lofty; not pretentious or magnificent; unpretending; unassuming; as, a humble cottage.
    Thy humble nest built on the ground. -Cowley.
  2. Thinking lowly of one's self; claiming little for one's self; not proud, arrogant, or assuming; thinking one's self ill-deserving or unworthy, when judged by the demands of God; lowly; weak; modest.
    God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Jas. iv. 6.
    She should be humble who would please. -Prior.
    Without a humble imitation of the divine Author of our . . . religion we can never hope to be a happy nation. -Washington.

Derived terms

  • humble plant (Bot.), a species of sensitive plant, of the genus Mimosa (M. sensitiva).
  • to eat humble pie, to endure mortification; to submit or apologize abjectly; to yield passively to insult or humilitation; -- a phrase derived from a pie made of the entrails or humbles of a deer, which was formerly served to servants and retainers at a hunting feast.

Related terms


near the ground
  • Bosnian: skroman, nizak
  • Croatian: skroman, nizak
  • Finnish: vaatimaton
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: скроман, низак
    Roman: skroman, nizak
  • Spanish: humilde
thinking lowly of one's self


  1. To bring low; to reduce the power, independence, or exaltation of; to lower; to abase; to humiliate.
    Here, take this purse, thou whom the heaven's plagues have humbled to all strokes. -Shak.
    The genius which humbled six marshals of France. -Macaulay.
  2. To make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride or arrogance of; to reduce the self-sufficiency of; to make meek and submissive; -- often used reflexively.
    Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you. 1 Pet. v. 6.


To bring low etc.
To make humble or lowly in mind etc.

Extensive Definition

Humble may refer to:
humble in Dutch: Humble

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abase, abash, abject, accommodating, acquiescent, adapting, adaptive, adjusting, altruistic, amenable, apologetic, base, baseborn, beat down, below the salt, bend, break, break down, bring down, bring low, bring to terms, broken, bump, bust, cast down, chagrin, chasten, chastened, cockney, committed, common, commonplace, compliant, conquer, consecrated, contrite, crush, debase, dedicated, deferential, deflate, degrade, demean, demeaning, demote, deplume, devoted, disadvantaged, discomfit, disgrace, disgrade, disinterested, displume, domesticated, dovelike, downgrade, embarrass, fell, flatten, gentle, homely, housebroken, humble-looking, humble-visaged, humbled, humblest, humiliate, ignoble, in the shade, inferior, infra dig, inglorious, innocuous, insignificant, junior, lamblike, least, less, lesser, let down, lose face, low, lowborn, lowbred, lower, lowest, lowliest, lowly, master, mean, meek, melted, mild, minor, modest, mortify, nonclerical, obedient, obscure, obsequious, ordinary, overmaster, override, overwhelm, pacific, passive, peaceable, penitent, penitential, penitentiary, plain, plebeian, poor, prostrate, pull down, put down, put out, put to shame, quell, quiet, reconciled, reduce, repentant, reserved, resigned, respectful, ride down, rude, sacrificing, second rank, second string, secondary, self-abasing, self-abnegating, self-abnegatory, self-denying, self-devoted, self-effacing, self-forgetful, self-immolating, self-neglectful, self-neglecting, self-renouncing, self-sacrificing, self-unconscious, selfless, servile, shabby-genteel, shame, sheepish, simple, sink, small, smash, softened, strip of rank, sub, subaltern, subdue, subdued, subject, subjugate, submissive, subordinate, subservient, suppress, tame, tamed, teachable, third rank, third string, third-estate, touched, trample down, trample underfoot, tread underfoot, tyrannize, unacquisitive, unambitious, unaspiring, unassuming, unboastful, uncomplaining, underprivileged, undistinguished, ungenteel, unimportant, unimposing, unman, unobtrusive, unostentatious, unpossessive, unprepossessing, unpresuming, unpresumptuous, unpretending, unpretentious, unresisting, unselfish, unsparing of self, unwashed, vanquish, vulgar
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