[ mod-ist ]
See synonyms for: modestmodestly on

  1. having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.

  2. free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.

  1. having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.

  2. limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.

Origin of modest

First recorded in 1555–65; from Latin modestus “restrained, decorous,” equivalent to modes- (stem of unattested modus, an s-stem akin to modus “measured amount, limit, manner” (see mode1), perhaps from unattested medos, with the vowel of modus; compare moderārī “to moderate” (see moderate, from the same noun stem) + -tus adjective suffix

synonym study For modest

3. Modest, demure, prudish imply conformity to propriety and decorum, and a distaste for anything coarse or loud. Modest implies a becoming shyness, sobriety, and proper behavior: a modest, self-respecting person. Demure implies a bashful, quiet simplicity, staidness, and decorum; but can also indicate an assumed or affected modesty: a demure young chorus girl. Prudish suggests an exaggeratedly self-conscious modesty or propriety in behavior or conversation of one who wishes to be thought of as easily shocked and who often is intolerant: a prudish objection to a harmless remark.

Other words for modest

Opposites for modest

Other words from modest

  • mod·est·ly, adverb
  • hy·per·mod·est, adjective
  • hy·per·mod·est·ness, noun
  • o·ver·mod·est, adjective
  • pseu·do·mod·est, adjective
  • qua·si-mod·est, adjective
  • su·per·mod·est, adjective
  • un·mod·est, adjective

Words Nearby modest Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use modest in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for modest


/ (ˈmɒdɪst) /

  1. having or expressing a humble opinion of oneself or one's accomplishments or abilities

  2. reserved or shy: modest behaviour

  1. not ostentatious or pretentious

  2. not extreme or excessive; moderate

  3. decorous or decent

Origin of modest

C16: via Old French from Latin modestus moderate, from modus mode

Derived forms of modest

  • modestly, adverb

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