adjective, hum·bler, hum·blest.
- 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.
verb (used with object), hum·bled, hum·bling.
- to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
- to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
- to make meek: to humble one’s heart.
- 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
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). 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. see eat crow (humble pie).