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modest

[mod-ist] /ˈmɒd ɪst/
adjective
1.
having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
2.
free from ostentation or showy extravagance:
a modest house.
3.
having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent:
a modest neckline on a dress.
4.
limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.:
a modest increase in salary.
Origin
1555-1565
1555-65; < Latin modestus restrained, decorous, equivalent to modes- (stem of *modus, an s-stem akin to modus mode1, perhaps < *medos, with the vowel of modus; compare moderārī to moderate, from the same noun stem) + -tus adj. suffix
Related forms
modestly, adverb
hypermodest, adjective
hypermodestly, adverb
hypermodestness, noun
overmodest, adjective
overmodestly, adverb
pseudomodest, adjective
pseudomodestly, adverb
quasi-modest, adjective
quasi-modestly, adverb
supermodest, adjective
supermodestly, adverb
unmodest, adjective
unmodestly, adverb
Synonyms
1. retiring, unassuming. 1, 2. unpretentious, unobtrusive. 3. pure, virtuous. Modest, demure, prudish imply conformity to propriety and decorum, and a distaste for anything coarse or loud. Modest implies a becoming shyness, sobriety, and proper behavior: a modest, self-respecting person. Demure implies a bashful, quiet simplicity, staidness, and decorum; but can also indicate an assumed or affected modesty: a demure young chorus girl. Prudish suggests an exaggeratedly self-conscious modesty or propriety in behavior or conversation of one who wishes to be thought of as easily shocked and who often is intolerant: a prudish objection to a harmless remark.
Antonyms
3. bold, coarse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for modest
  • The modest growth is a reflection of last year's sluggish new-enrollment figures.
  • Such a modest rate of increase of price does not indicate a serious shortage.
  • From the outside, the terra-cotta-colored tower appears modest in size.
  • The decor and food are modest, but still a lot better than the town's few other independent eateries.
  • But despair not, star-gazers of more modest means.
  • Of course, students are generally of modest means, but not always.
  • Small and university presses sponsor these contests, in which a poet sends a manuscript along with a modest reading fee.
  • The area is edged by modest homes and magnificent mansions.
  • This book sets a modest goal and fulfills it grandly.
  • modest gardens can seem bigger if you eliminate clutter, limit materials, and highlight the details.
British Dictionary definitions for modest

modest

/ˈmɒdɪst/
adjective
1.
having or expressing a humble opinion of oneself or one's accomplishments or abilities
2.
reserved or shy: modest behaviour
3.
not ostentatious or pretentious
4.
not extreme or excessive; moderate
5.
decorous or decent
Derived Forms
modestly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin modestus moderate, from modusmode
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for modest
adj.

1560s, "having moderate self-regard," from Middle French modeste (14c.), from Latin modestus "keeping due measure" (see modesty). Of women, "not improper or lewd," 1590s; of female attire, 1610s. Of demands, etc., c.1600. Related: Modestly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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