See also: Humble

English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English humble, from Old French humble, umble, humle, from Latin humilis (low, slight, hence mean, humble) (compare Greek χαμαλός (khamalós, on the ground, low, trifling)), from humus (the earth, ground), humi (on the ground). See homage, and compare chameleon, humiliate. Displaced native Old English ēaþmōd.

The verb is from Middle English humblen (to humble).

Adjective

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humble (comparative humbler or more humble, superlative humblest or most humble)

  1. Not pretentious or magnificent; unpretending; unassuming.
    He lives in a humble one-bedroom cottage.
    • 17th century, Abraham Cowley, The Shortness of Life and Uncertainty of Riches
      The wise example of the heavenly lark.
      Thy fellow poet, Cowley, mark,
      Above the clouds let thy proud music sound,
      Thy humble nest build on the ground.
    • 1945 November and December, H. C. Casserley, “Random Reflections on British Locomotive Types—1”, in Railway Magazine, page 320:
      Undoubtedly it can be said that the humble 0-6-0 has been the backbone for general service, or general utility on British railways right from their earliest days, and is likely to remain so.
    • 2001 August 30, Shakira (lyrics and music), “Whenever, Wherever”, in Laundry Service[1]:
      Lucky that my lips not only mumble / They spill kisses like a fountain / Lucky that my breasts are small and humble / So you don't confuse 'em with mountains
  2. Having a low opinion of oneself; not proud, arrogant, or assuming; modest.
    Synonyms: unassuming, modest
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, James 4:6:
      But he giueth more grace, wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proude, but giueth grace vnto the humble.
    • a. 1722, Matthew Prior, “Cloe Jealous”, in The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior [], volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan, [], published 1779, →OCLC, stanza V, page 109:
      She ſhould be humble, who would pleaſe;
        And ſhe muſt ſuffer, who can love.
    • 2012 June 28, Jamie Jackson, “Wimbledon 2012: Lukas Rosol shocked by miracle win over Rafael Nadal”, in The Guardian[2], London:
      Rosol's 65 winners to Nadal's 41 was one of the crucial statistics in the 3hr 18min match that ended in a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 triumph labelled a "miracle" by Rosol, who was humble enough to offer commiserations to Nadal.
Synonyms
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Antonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

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humble (third-person singular simple present humbles, present participle humbling, simple past and past participle humbled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To defeat or reduce the power, independence, or pride of
  2. (transitive, often reflexive) To make humble or lowly; to make less proud or arrogant; to make meek and submissive.
    • 1979 September 27, Leonard Cohen (lyrics and music), “Humbled in Love”, in Recent Songs:
      And you say you've been humbled in love / Cut down in your love / Forced to kneel in the mud next to me
    • 2015 April 8, Dana Spiotta, “T. C. Boyle’s ‘The Harder They Come’”, in The New York Times[3]:
      The final, quiet moments of the book return to Sten; his experience of his sick son humbles him, just as his aging body humbles him, and Boyle seems to suggest this makes him a better man.
Synonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Noun

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humble (plural humbles)

  1. (Baltimore, slang) An arrest based on weak evidence intended to demean or punish the subject.
    • 2004 October 17, Ed Burns, “Straight and True”, in The Wire, season 3, episode 5 (television production), spoken by Howard "Bunny" Colvin (Robert Wisdom), via HBO:
      You're on a corner in my district, it ain't gonna be about no humble, it ain't gonna be about no loitering charge, nothing like that. There gonna be some biblical shit happening to you on the way to that motherfucking jail wagon.
    • 2005 April 23, Gregory Kane, “'Jive humble' arrests help fill Central Booking's cell”, in Baltimore Sun:
      Years ago, guys on Baltimore's streets would have, by definition, called an arrest for loitering a "humble."
    • 2015 April 29, “David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish”, in The Marshall Project[4]:
      A humble is a cheap, inconsequential arrest that nonetheless gives the guy a night or two in jail before he sees a court commissioner. You can arrest people on “failure to obey,” it’s a humble. Loitering is a humble. These things were used by police officers going back to the ‘60s in Baltimore. It’s the ultimate recourse for a cop who doesn't like somebody who's looking at him the wrong way.

Etymology 2

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From Middle English *humblen, *humbelen (suggested by humblynge (a humming, a faint rumbling)), frequentative of Middle English hummen (to hum), equivalent to hum +‎ -le.

Verb

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humble (third-person singular simple present humbles, present participle humbling, simple past and past participle humbled)

  1. (intransitive, chiefly obsolete) To hum.
    humbling and bumbling
Derived terms
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Etymology 3

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Noun

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humble (plural humbles)

  1. (Northern England, Scotland, also attributive) Alternative form of hummel.
    humble cattle

Verb

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humble (third-person singular simple present humbles, present participle humbling, simple past and past participle humbled)

  1. (transitive) Alternative form of hummel.

Further reading

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French

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Etymology

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From Old French, from Latin humilis (low, slight, hence mean, humble) (compare Greek χαμαλός (khamalós, on the ground, low, trifling)), from humus (the earth, ground), humi (on the ground).

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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humble (plural humbles)

  1. humble
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Further reading

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Old French

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Adjective

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humble m (oblique and nominative feminine singular humble)

  1. Alternative form of umble
    • c. 1170, Wace, Le Roman de Rou:
      Richart fu verz Dex humble, volentiers le servi
      Richard was humble towards God, and served him willingly

Declension

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