Difference Between Humble and Modest

Main Difference – Humble vs Modest

Modest and humble are adjectives which imply the opposite of arrogance and pride. Both can be used to describe an individual who is not too proud or arrogant about his or her achievements. However, there is a subtle difference between these two adjectives. The main difference between humble and modest is that humble connotes inferiority and submissiveness, unlike modest. You’ll understand more about these meanings after reading this article.

Humble – Meaning and Usage

Humble is an adjective and a verb, which indicates the opposite of pride and arrogance. Humble implies that a person’s having a low estimate of his importance. An individual who is described by this adjective is not proud and doesn’t think that he is better than others, regardless of his position or abilities. In this sense, it is very similar to modest.

But humble implies a certain level submission and inferiority as well. This adjective can also be used to describe one’s low rank, position or background. For example, his humble background means that the person described comes from a low background.

The following examples contain all these meanings. See whether you can identify the implications conveyed by this word.

He was very humble about his accomplishment.

He was a humble man; he never boasted about his position.

She started from a humble beginning.

We were humbled by his words.

Despite coming from a humble background, she became the president of the country.

Difference Between Humble and Modest

Humble apology

Modest – Meaning and Usage

Modest is also similar to humble. Modest refers to not being too proud or confident about one’s achievements and abilities. If a very successful person is very unassuming and down to earth about his accomplishments, we call him modest.

Modest can also refer to an amount or level. It can refer to a limited amount or level. For example, the phrase modest income refers to a small income. Modest can also be used to refer to attire and propriety. In this sense, modest is equal to decent.

The following sentences will help you to understand all these meanings better.

He is very modest about his achievements.

They live on a modest budget.

Despite coming from a very wealthy background, he was very modest.

Don’t be so modest about your success.

The whole family lived from Mary’s modest income.

She wore a modest dress.

Difference Between Humble and Modest

She is very modest about her cooking skills.

Difference Between Humble and Modest


Humble is an adjective and verb.

Modest is an adjective.


Humble means having a low estimate of one’s importance.

Modest means to be unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements.


Humble has connotations of weakness and submissiveness.

Modest doesn’t have connotations of weakness and submissiveness.


Humble cannot be used to indicate an amount, rate or level.

Modest can be used to indicate an amount, rate or level.Difference Between Humble and Modest - infographic

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.