humble

[huhm-buhl, uhm-]

adjective, hum·bler, hum·blest.

verb (used with object), hum·bled, hum·bling.


Origin of humble

1200–50; Middle English (h)umble < Old French < Latin humilis lowly, insignificant, on the ground. See humus, -ile
Related formshum·ble·ness, nounhum·bler, nounhum·bling·ly, adverbhum·bly, adverbo·ver·hum·ble, adjectiveo·ver·hum·ble·ness, nouno·ver·hum·b·ly, adverbqua·si-hum·ble, adjectivequa·si-hum·b·ly, adverbself-hum·bling, adjectiveun·hum·ble, adjectiveun·hum·ble·ness, nounun·hum·b·ly, adverbun·hum·bled, adjective

Synonyms for humble

Synonym study

7. Humble, degrade, humiliate suggest lowering or causing to seem lower. To humble is to bring down the pride of another or to reduce him or her to a state of abasement: to humble an arrogant enemy. To degrade is to demote in rank or standing, or to reduce to a low level in dignity: to degrade an officer; to degrade oneself by lying. To humiliate is to make others feel or appear inadequate or unworthy, especially in some public setting: to humiliate a sensitive person.

Antonyms for humble

1, 2. proud. 3. noble, exalted. 4. rude, insolent. 6. elevate. 8. exalt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for humblest

Contemporary Examples of humblest

Historical Examples of humblest

  • A man likes to have the approval of even the humblest of his fellow-creatures.

  • They would take off their hats, and make the humblest bows you ever saw.

    The Miraculous Pitcher

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The humblest may see a way of improvement in their betters, and obey the command, "Follow me."

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • Occasionally, the brave and gentle character may be found under the humblest garb.

    Self-Help

    Samuel Smiles

  • Only he had set her on high, where even the humblest woman longs to be set by some one.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens


British Dictionary definitions for humblest

humble

adjective

conscious of one's failings
unpretentious; lowlya humble cottage; my humble opinion
deferential or servile

verb (tr)

to cause to become humble; humiliate
to lower in status
Derived Formshumbled, adjectivehumbleness, nounhumbler, nounhumbling, adjectivehumblingly, adverbhumbly, adverb

Word Origin for humble

C13: from Old French, from Latin humilis low, from humus the ground
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for humblest

humble

adj.

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).

humble

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with humblest

humble

see eat crow (humble pie).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.