modest Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective marked by simplicity; having a humble opinion of yourself
    • a modest apartment
    • too modest to wear his medals
  2. adjective satellite not large but sufficient in size or amount
    • a modest salary
    • modest inflation
    • helped in my own small way
  3. adjective satellite free from pomp or affectation
    • comfortable but modest cottages
    • a simple rectangular brick building
    • a simple man with simple tastes
  4. adjective not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance
  5. adjective satellite low or inferior in station or quality
    small; humble; low; lowly.
    • a humble cottage
    • a lowly parish priest
    • a modest man of the people
    • small beginnings
  6. adjective satellite humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness
    mild; meek.
    • meek and self-effacing
  7. adjective satellite limited in size or scope
    pocket-size; pocket-sized; small; minor; small-scale.
    • a small business
    • a newspaper with a modest circulation
    • small-scale plans
    • a pocket-size country


Mod"est adjective
F. modeste, L. modestus, fr. modus measure. See Mode.
  1. Restraining within due limits of propriety; not forward, bold, boastful, or presumptious; rather retiring than pushing one's self forward; not obstructive; as, a modest youth; a modest man.
  2. Observing the proprieties of the sex; not unwomanly in act or bearing; free from undue familiarity, indecency, or lewdness; decent in speech and demeanor; -- said of a woman.
    Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife. Shak.
    The blushing beauties of a modest maid. Dryden.
  3. Evincing modestly in the actor, author, or speaker; not showing presumption; not excessive or extreme; moderate; as, a modest request; modest joy. Syn. -- Reserved; unobtrusive; diffident; bashful; coy; shy; decent; becoming; chaste; virtuous.

Webster 1913