View synonyms for humbling


[ huhm-bling, uhm- ]


  1. causing a person to feel less proud, especially through awe, admiration, or gratitude:

    This project has involved some exceptionally talented people and it’s been a humbling experience to work with them.

  2. lowering a person’s status, power, dignity, confidence, etc.:

    The 26:2 vote in favor of their opponents was indeed a humbling defeat.


  1. the act of affecting a person or thing in any of these ways, or the experience of being so affected:

    The Magna Carta marked the restoration of Anglo-Saxon freedom and the humbling of Norman tyranny.

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Other Words From

  • hum·bling·ly adverb
  • self-hum·bling adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of humbling1

First recorded in 1540–50; humbl(e) ( def ) + -ing 2( def ) for the adjective senses; humbl(e) ( def ) + -ing 1( def ) for the noun sense

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Example Sentences

Obese mice given HUMBLE or brown cells now weighed 20 percent more.

This week Natasha was on vacation, so Danny and your humble servant had to endeavor alone.

Yesterday Ocean Spray was humbled to gift Nathan with something of importance to him— a truck we knew he needed.

From Eater

If the idea that Darwin humbled us has become canonical, what is less often observed is the fact that the newfound humility was, in certain important respects, misleading—and dangerously so.

In June, Paul attacked Fauci for not being more optimistic about the coronavirus, saying that Fauci wasn’t the “end-all” and that he should be more humble about what he didn’t know.

To be the very first moment that we see on an episode of The Good Wife was quite a compliment and very humbling.

The Humbling focuses on Simon Axler (Pacino), a veteran stage actor who loses the desire to act.

Perry called his failed 2012 bid for the GOP nomination “painful” and “humbling.”

The messy, complex, non-linear movement of actual history, by contrast, is unsettling, humbling—even terrifying.

But it is a humbling reminder of how moral campaigns are actually won: with more than simple appeals to the heart.

No small part of those energies in the business district were devoted to humbling the rival, in the matter of commerce.

I don't believe Marian needs humbling; one can't help liking her; and she's ever so good to look at.

She had succumbed to the monster, humbling herself below animals; and now she loved a hero, aspiring to the semi-divine.

It was a strange picture—this brilliant beauty, forgetful of pride and station, humbling herself to a poor candle seller.

Considering his late successes, we are surprised at his thus humbling himself to his foe.





humble planthumbly