Humble Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

The word humble has a lot of ways it can be used in the modern world. Here is what it means, where the word comes from, and how to use it properly!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Humility is one of the best and most important qualities that a person can have in the modern world. When you choose to be humble, it makes you much more approachable, lovable, and personable. People who maintain an attitude, outlook, and posture of humility are often much more beloved, simply due to how they treat themselves and others around them. 

If you are interested in having better relationships with everyone around you, investing in the concept of humility in your own life can help you to identify better people and become a better person yourself! Here is how to do that! This is what it means to be humble, the word’s etymology, and what it looks like in the real world. 

What Does Humble Mean? 

Humble (humble), as defined by the English dictionary, is an adjective associated with having or showing a modest estimate of one’s own pride and self-worth and expressing meekness, modesty, and subservience. While it is sometimes associated with being self-effacing and lacking self-worth, the main focus of humility is expressing a lack of pride and arrogance. The primary goal of humility is the lowering of oneself to lift other people up. 

Humble is also used to describe people from a low birth in socio-economic or social status. Coming from a place where submission and inferiority are a naturally ingrained mindset has a lot to do with humility. 

However, the reality is that humility is actually the foundation for a good and beneficial outlook on life. When you act as a humble servant of people and seek to honor others above yourself, it leads to much more success in life. When you live in a way that ascribes honor and glory to places other than yourself, it invites other people to give you much more grace and kindness. Humility is not a lack of self-respect — it’s an extended presence of appreciation for other people. 

What Is the Etymology of the Word Humble? 

The word humble comes from a few different Latin words. The original word comes from the Latin humus, which means “ground” or “earth.” It expresses a lowly nature that is steady and supportive. The Latin Humilis came into being from that word, which much more literally means “low” or “lowly.” 

The word gradually shifted into other romance languages from the Latin language, such as Old French and Middle English. From these Indo-European roots, the term became deeply embedded in the culture of Christianity and was used within the contexts of a lot of spiritual and religious connotations. 

Many passages in the Bible were translated to include the word humble, like James 4:10, which says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Another familiar verse is Proverbs 11:2, which states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Through these verses and many more, the concept and the word of humility were deeply incorporated into the world as we know it today. 

What do Aspects of Humility Look Like? 

Humility is all about living in a way that shows that you don’t think of yourself more highly than other people. In many cultures, that means living with a spirit of deference and being okay with less recognition. The general mindset behind this is that when you wait for other people to sing your praises, it feels much more genuine and honest and less arrogant and prideful. 

One of the most familiar stories of humility in the modern world is the concept of coming from small beginnings and humbly working your way to the highest formal honors. This is a trope that has been seen and loved in countless stories, both real and fiction. People naturally have much more love and attachment for someone who can come from a small and humble place and retain their humility all the way to the top. It’s a fundamental and beneficial way to operate if you want people to genuinely like you. 

A common mistake that people make is that humility is entirely based on rejecting one’s own needs to serve others. While this is partially true in some senses, the reality is that humility is generally seen as an attitude to maintain and actions to show, even in the most obnoxious and tedious circumstances. Being humble is all about preserving calmness and ignoring desires for retribution and vindication. 

Examples of Humble in Real Sentences

Here are some examples of the word humble used in real-world sentences that you might hear in conversation. Some of these are commonly used phrases, and knowing how to use them correctly can make your communication much more effective! 

  • Even though he was born in a humble cottage in the middle of Ohio, he became the governor of the entire state. 
  • Following his humble apologies, people forgave him for what he did simply because he had shown himself to be a modest man of the people. 
  • Welcome to my humble abode — I know it’s not much, but it’s home! 
  • Ms. Collins took off all of her bling in an attempt to don a more humble appearance. 
  • While the American heritage is primarily based on pride, many other cultures are based on being humble. 
  • The Robin had five eggs inside her humble nest. 
  • In the film, the lowly parish priest did everything they could to clean the dirty faces of the orphans and humble people in his village. 
  • Mr. Bly was recognized as one of the most humble people in his society and was given lots of responsibility and recognition. 
  • Even though they didn’t win the copyright case, the lawyers were still incredibly humble and gracious in the way they accepted defeat. 

Stay Humble

Being humble is something that is often misunderstood and overlooked in a lot of modern societies. However, when it is done right, it can bring a lot of goodness and benefit to people’s lives. 

For more clarity on confusing words in the English language, take a look around our blog here at The Word Counter! We’re here to help you understand the terms you communicate in new ways and fully comprehend your own vocabulary at large!


  1. Humble Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster
  2. Proverbs 11:12 | Bible Gateway
  3. James 4:10 KJV | Bible Gateway
  4. Humility Definition & Meaning |