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Humble vs. Modest: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 26, 2023
Humble denotes a low estimate of one’s importance; modest refers to downplaying one’s achievements or attributes.

Key Differences

The term "humble" primarily signifies having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance. Humble individuals do not consider themselves superior to others and are often receptive to learning and self-improvement. "Modest," on the other hand, typically means not overly emphasizing one's abilities, achievements, or attributes. Modest individuals may have significant accomplishments but choose not to boast about them or seek attention for them.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023
"Humble" also implies a willingness to serve others and a lack of arrogance. Individuals who are humble often have a clear and honest view of their own strengths and weaknesses and are usually considerate and respectful towards others. "Modest," in comparison, relates more to behavior and appearance, ensuring that they do not come across as ostentatious or seeking admiration or approval.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023
When considering these terms in the context of possessions or lifestyle, a "humble" person may lead a simple life, emphasizing values, and intrinsic worth over material possessions. In contrast, a "modest" person might have considerable wealth or possessions but does not flaunt them or hold them as a sign of superiority.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023
In relation to acknowledgment and recognition, a humble person typically does not seek acclaim or praise and attributes their success to others or external factors. A modest person, although not dismissive of their accomplishments, tends to downplay them, avoiding the spotlight and not seeking the admiration of others.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023
In essence, while both "humble" and "modest" denote a lack of pride or arrogance and an avoidance of ostentation, they have nuanced differences. Humbleness centers more on one’s perception of their importance and willingness to serve, while modesty focuses on downplaying one’s achievements and attributes and avoiding extravagance in behavior and appearance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Having a low estimate of one’s importance.
Downplaying one’s achievements or attributes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Focus

Perception of one’s importance and willingness to serve.
Behavior and appearance, avoiding ostentation and extravagance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Self-Perception

Clear and honest view of one’s strengths and weaknesses.
Not overly emphasizing abilities, achievements, or attributes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Attention Seeking

Does not seek acclaim or praise.
Avoids the spotlight and does not seek admiration.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 26, 2023

Material Possessions

Emphasizes values and intrinsic worth over possessions.
May possess wealth but does not flaunt it.
Janet White
Sep 26, 2023
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Humble and Modest Definitions

Humble

Showing a low estimate of one’s importance.
Despite his immense wealth, he remains humble, treating everyone with respect.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Modest

Not boasting about or drawing attention to one’s achievements or attributes.
Though highly accomplished, she is modest about her successes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Humble

Lacking arrogance and haughtiness.
His humble demeanor makes him approachable to all.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Modest

Avoiding ostentation in behavior and appearance.
He leads a modest lifestyle, despite having the means for extravagance.
Janet White
Sep 26, 2023

Humble

Leading a simple and unpretentious life.
She lives in a humble abode, unfazed by opulence.
Harlon Moss
Sep 26, 2023

Modest

Limited in amount, size, or degree.
He earned a modest income but was content with his life.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Humble

Being willing to learn and improve oneself.
The humble student eagerly absorbed the teachings of his mentors.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Modest

Having or showing a moderate estimation of one's own abilities, accomplishments, or value
Was too modest to talk about his success.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Having a respectful and considerate nature.
His humble approach endears him to his colleagues.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Modest

Having or proceeding from a disinclination to call attention to oneself; retiring or diffident
A quiet, modest demeanor.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior, or dress, especially in the avoidance of arousing sexual interest.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Showing deferential or submissive respect
A humble apology.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Free from showiness or ostentation; unpretentious
A house with modest furnishings.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly
A humble cottage.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Moderate or limited in size, quantity, or range; not extreme
A modest price.
A newspaper with a modest circulation.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To cause to feel humble
"He was humbled by the lack of consolation in Kornblum's expression" (Michael Chabon).
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Not bragging or boasting about oneself or one's achievements; unpretentious, humble.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To cause to have a lower condition or status; abase.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Small, moderate in size.
He earns a modest amount of money.
Her latest novel was a modest success.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Not pretentious or magnificent; unpretending; unassuming.
He lives in a humble one-bedroom cottage.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Pure and delicate from a sense of propriety.
Modest thoughts or language
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Having a low opinion of oneself; not proud, arrogant, or assuming; modest.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

(especially of behaviour or clothing) Intending to avoid the encouraging of sexual attraction in others.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

(ambitransitive) To defeat or reduce the power, independence, or pride of
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Restraining within due limits of propriety; not forward, bold, boastful, or presumptious; rather retiring than pushing one's self forward; not obstructive; as, a modest youth; a modest man.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To make humble or lowly; to make less proud or arrogant; to make meek and submissive.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Observing the proprieties of the sex; not unwomanly in act or bearing; free from undue familiarity, indecency, or lewdness; decent in speech and demeanor; - said of a woman.
Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife.
The blushing beauties of a modest maid.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To hum.
Humbling and bumbling
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Evincing modestly in the actor, author, or speaker; not showing presumption; not excessive or extreme; moderate; as, a modest request; modest joy.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

(transitive) hummel.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Marked by simplicity; having a humble opinion of yourself;
A modest apartment
Too modest to wear his medals
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

An arrest based on weak evidence intended to demean or punish the subject.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Not large but sufficient in size or amount;
A modest salary
Modest inflation
Helped in my own small way
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Near the ground; not high or lofty; not pretentious or magnificent; unpretending; unassuming; as, a humble cottage.
THy humble nest built on the ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Free from pomp or affectation;
Comfortable but modest cottages
A simple rectangular brick building
A simple man with simple tastes
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

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; waek; modest.
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
She should be humble who would please.
Without a humble imitation of the divine Author of our . . . religion we can never hope to be a happy nation.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Hornless. See Hummel.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Low or inferior in station or quality;
A humble cottage
A lowly parish priest
A modest man of the people
Small beginnings
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To bring low; to reduce the power, independence, or exaltation of; to lower; to abase; to humilate.
Here, take this purse, thou whom the heaven's plaguesHave humbled to all strokes.
The genius which humbled six marshals of France.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness;
Meek and self-effacing
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

To make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride or arrogance of; to reduce the self-sufficiently of; to make meek and submissive; - often used rexlexively.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Limited in size or scope;
A small business
A newspaper with a modest circulation
Small-scale plans
A pocket-size country
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Cause to be unpretentious;
This experience will humble him
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Free from ostentation or pretension;
The restrained elegance of the room
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of;
He humiliated his colleague by criticising him in front of the boss
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Having or showing a moderate opinion of one’s own value.
She is modest and never considers herself superior to others.
Janet White
Sep 26, 2023

Humble

Low or inferior in station or quality;
A humble cottage
A lowly parish priest
A modest man of the people
Small beginnings
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Modest

Decent and not drawing attention in terms of clothing.
She chose a modest dress for the formal event.
Janet White
Sep 26, 2023

Humble

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
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Used of unskilled work (especially domestic work)
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

Humble

Of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense);
Baseborn wretches with dirty faces
Of humble (or lowly) birth
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 27, 2023

FAQs

Can a humble person have a clear view of their strengths and weaknesses?

Yes, a humble person often has a clear and honest view of their strengths and weaknesses.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Is modesty related more to behavior and appearance?

Yes, modesty is related more to not being ostentatious in behavior and appearance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Does being humble mean having a low opinion of one's importance?

Yes, being humble involves having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's importance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Does a humble person emphasize values over material possessions?

Yes, a humble person often emphasizes values and intrinsic worth over material possessions.
Janet White
Sep 26, 2023

Can a modest person possess wealth without flaunting it?

Yes, a modest person can have considerable wealth but choose not to flaunt it.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Can a modest person downplay their accomplishments?

Yes, a modest person tends to downplay their accomplishments, avoiding the spotlight.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Does being modest mean having a moderate or realistic view of one’s value?

Yes, being modest often involves having a moderate or realistic opinion of one’s value.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Do humble people generally avoid seeking praise or acclaim?

Yes, humble people typically do not seek praise or acclaim and attribute their success to others or external factors.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Does being modest mean avoiding boasting about one’s achievements?

Yes, being modest typically involves not drawing attention to one’s achievements or attributes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Is a willingness to learn a trait of a humble person?

Yes, a willingness to learn and improve is often a characteristic of a humble person.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Does a humble lifestyle avoid opulence and extravagance?

Yes, a humble lifestyle often avoids opulence and is unpretentious.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 26, 2023

Can modesty involve having decent and unflashy clothing?

Yes, modesty can involve wearing decent and unflashy clothing that doesn’t draw undue attention.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Can both humble and modest people avoid drawing attention to themselves?

Yes, both humble and modest people often avoid drawing attention to themselves, focusing on others or downplaying their achievements and attributes respectively.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Is humbleness related to being respectful and considerate?

Yes, humbleness is often associated with being respectful and considerate to others.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023

Can a modest income be limited but sufficient?

Yes, a modest income is often limited but can be sufficient and fulfilling.
Sara Rehman
Sep 26, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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