Definition of modesty in English:



mass noun
  • 1The quality or state of being unassuming in the estimation of one's abilities.

    ‘with typical modesty he insisted on sharing the credit with others’
    • ‘False modesty is worse - far worse - than false pride.’
    • ‘It's not false modesty, but the viewing nation has had three solid months of me and now they need a break.’
    • ‘He is intelligent, engaging and nimbly treads the line between humility and false modesty.’
    • ‘The fact that he was in a national political debate, where it's all about false modesty and self-aggrandizement, made his acknowledgement all the more remarkable.’
    • ‘His unassuming modesty would never allow him to think like this, of course, but I think a time and an icon among his peers, is owed a lot by the profession.’
    • ‘‘Welcome,’ the empress said to them, her voice holding false modesty.’
    • ‘‘You have to forget your humanity, your learned pity and false modesty,’ he's told.’
    • ‘I'm just trying to get through the day, and that's not just false modesty.’
    • ‘I thought that the false modesty would stop at university, especially Oxford; after all, we're all good enough to be here, otherwise we wouldn't have been admitted.’
    • ‘As usual, Mike's genuine modesty understated his ability, but then he sincerely doubted his talents, even though they were there for all to see.’
    • ‘It is not false modesty; he just does not know how good he is sometimes.’
    • ‘She had been a rare beauty; there was no point in false modesty.’
    • ‘This may be false modesty or perhaps just a simple human failing.’
    • ‘They made a decision to take action but, despite the bravery of their actions, they all had a very quiet, unassuming modesty.’
    • ‘Yet whenever I hear someone stand up in public with a poem or short story in their hand which they then preface with a lengthy disclaimer about its imperfections, I cannot help sniffing false modesty.’
    • ‘He instead uses words that reflect the traits of humility, modesty, and loving kindness that are a manifestation of his soul.’
    • ‘He hates to appear big-headed, but he knows that false modesty is equally odious.’
    • ‘He had shown no false modesty about his ability to avoid the gardener.’
    • ‘This reaction should not be interpreted as false modesty, however.’
    • ‘Is this false modesty, or is there something here worth considering?’
    self-effacement, humility, lack of vanity, lack of pretension, unpretentiousness
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  • 2The quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.

    ‘the modesty of his political aspirations’
    • ‘Is the relative modesty of the damages a reflection of the fact that the amount was determined by a judge and not by a jury?’
    • ‘His family was quite wealthy, but modesty was what they possessed in great amounts.’
    • ‘At the cathedral, Paul and his wife Jenny lived in relative modesty in a part of what was originally built as the bishop's palace.’
    limited scope, moderation, fairness, acceptability, smallness
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  • 3Behaviour, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.

    ‘modesty forbade her to undress in front of so many people’
    • ‘Girls and women were shy and had a sense of modesty and propriety.’
    • ‘Why does it seem like modesty applies more to women than to men?’
    • ‘To keep them covered was a matter of decency and modesty.’
    • ‘‘The idea is that your modesty in dress and behavior is a passport to public space,’ he said.’
    • ‘But faith in the classical virtues of decorum and modesty remained with him until his death.’
    • ‘To be clear, I'm not opposed to modesty in film if decorum calls for it.’
    • ‘They have to leave her shoulders bare but at least her modesty is in tact.’
    • ‘In this respect veiling is considered a trait of feminity, of feminine modesty and virtue.’
    • ‘As an athlete, he violated the codes of modesty and propriety.’
    • ‘‘Since Father is unavailable that would be acceptable,’ she ducked her head in a gesture the steward took as maidenly modesty, but actually was meant to hide her smile.’
    • ‘I felt it would be a service to those families to provide guidelines regarding modesty and propriety so that such a technique could be done in the most respectful way possible.’
    • ‘Is it some kind of attempt at demureness and modesty?’
    • ‘Her desire is rebellious and demonstrates a strong will hidden beyond a demure and feminine modesty.’
    • ‘The veil symbolizes the idea of modesty and conveys the lesson that however attractive physical appearances may be, the soul and character are paramount.’
    • ‘Many Asian cultural traditions place emphasis on propriety and the observance of strict moral and social conduct, thus modesty and restrained sexuality are valued.’
    • ‘I have never seen a woman with more modesty and decency than this person.’
    • ‘Girls are expected to display a number of feminine virtues, particularly modesty and chastity.’
    • ‘One answer, of course, is modesty both in dress and manner, long the approach of Orthodox Jewish women and now enjoying something of a culture vogue in the U.S.’
    • ‘Raven felt the heat rise again within her, and the blush that crept to her cheeks this time had nothing to do with maidenly modesty.’
    unpretentiousness, simplicity, plainness, lack of pretension, inexpensiveness, lack of extravagance
    decorum, decorousness, decency, seemliness, demureness, sobriety, severity
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