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See also: Humble


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for humble in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English humble, from Old French humble, umble, humle, from Latin humilis (low, slight, hence mean, humble) (compare Greek χαμαλός (khamalós, on the ground, low, trifling)), from humus (the earth, ground), humi (on the ground). See homage, and compare chameleon, humiliate.

The verb is from Middle English humblen (to humble).


humble (comparative humbler, superlative humblest)

  1. not pretentious or magnificent; unpretending; unassuming
    He lives in a humble one-bedroom cottage.
    Thy humble nest built on the ground. -Cowley.
  2. Thinking lowly of oneself; claiming little for oneself; not proud, arrogant, or assuming; modest.
    • 2012 June 28, Jamie Jackson, “Wimbledon 2012: Lukas Rosol shocked by miracle win over Rafael Nadal”, in the Guardian[1]:
      Rosol's 65 winners to Nadal's 41 was one of the crucial statistics in the 3hr 18min match that ended in a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 triumph labelled a "miracle" by Rosol, who was humble enough to offer commiserations to Nadal.
    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[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


humble (third-person singular simple present humbles, present participle humbling, simple past and past participle humbled)

  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. Ch 5: v. 6.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare hummel.


humble (not comparable)

  1. hornless.
    humble cattle

Further reading[edit]



From Old French, from Latin humilis (low, slight, hence mean, humble) (compare Greek χαμαλός (khamalós, on the ground, low, trifling)), from humus (the earth, ground), humi (on the ground).



humble (plural humbles)

  1. humble

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Old French[edit]


humble m (oblique and nominative feminine singular humble)

  1. Alternative form of umble
    • circa 1170, Wace, Le Roman de Rou:
      Richart fu verz Dex humble, volentiers le servi
      Richard was humble towards God, and served him willingly