- not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
- having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
- low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
- courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong.
- low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.
- to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
- to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
- to make meek: to humble one's heart.
Origin of humble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for humbling
The Humbling focuses on Simon Axler (Pacino), a veteran stage actor who loses the desire to act.Al Pacino Does What He Wants to Do: 'The Humbling,' Scorsese, and That 'Scarface' Remake
September 9, 2014
Perry called his failed 2012 bid for the GOP nomination “painful” and “humbling.”Rick Perry, Humbled by His ‘Oops,’ May Be Ready This Time
June 23, 2014
The messy, complex, non-linear movement of actual history, by contrast, is unsettling, humbling—even terrifying.How ‘Cosmos’ Bungles the History of Religion and Science
March 23, 2014
But it is a humbling reminder of how moral campaigns are actually won: with more than simple appeals to the heart.How Blacks Freed Themselves from Slavery
February 18, 2014
Yet we fear to pursue this thought to its humbling conclusion.From Smarm To Snark, We’re All Soldiers In The War On Obscurity
December 7, 2013
This was putting the matter in a new, and, for me, an humbling light.The First Violin
This completed my humbling; for no man had ever disdained me thus before.Sir Ludar
Talbot Baines Reed
The position in which you find yourselves should be humbling.Adaptation
Dallas McCord Reynolds
This is how you treat me for humbling myself, when it is you that ought to ask forgiveness.White Lies
I owe you that admission, humbling to the pride that is left in me!The Dop Doctor
Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
- conscious of one's failings
- unpretentious; lowlya humble cottage; my humble opinion
- deferential or servile
- to cause to become humble; humiliate
- to lower in status
Word Origin and History for humbling
mid-13c., from Old French humble, earlier humele, from Latin humilis "lowly, humble," literally "on the ground," from humus "earth." Senses of "not self-asserting" and "of low birth or rank" were both in Middle English Related: Humbly; humbleness.
Don't be so humble; you're not that great. [Golda Meir]
To eat humble pie (1830) is from umble pie (1640s), pie made from umbles "edible inner parts of an animal" (especially deer), considered a low-class food. The similar sense of similar-sounding words (the "h" of humble was not pronounced then) converged in the pun. Umbles, meanwhile, is Middle English numbles "offal" (with loss of n- through assimilation into preceding article).
late 14c. in the intransitive sense of "to render oneself humble;" late 15c. in the transitive sense of "to lower (someone) in dignity;" see humble (adj.). Related: Humbled; humbling.