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[mod-uh-stee] /ˈmɒd ə sti/
noun, plural modesties.
the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
simplicity; moderation.
Origin of modesty
1525-35; < Latin modestia. See modest, -y3
Related forms
overmodesty, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for modesty
  • Indeed, concerns about modesty can play out in unexpected ways in hospital settings.
  • His humanity, courage, his restraint and his modesty makes us also to think about the human condition.
  • Interesting comments, thank you, and refreshing to see some properly scientific thinking and modesty amongst these comments.
  • The modesty in his method is matched by a realism in his demands.
  • But talk of specific campaigns aside, false modesty or studied ennui seemed to be the theme of the day.
  • There's a modesty to the arrangement, as if the couple had decided that less doesn't have to be more.
  • The good news is that he has not been constrained by false modesty and has chosen six of his own pieces for this book.
  • Thus the parlous state of modeling and the concomitant need for modesty among those addicted to central planning.
  • Fine lace and demure cuts emphasize the overarching preference for modesty.
  • But such modesty conflicts, at times, with a need to find and advertise success stories.
British Dictionary definitions for modesty


noun (pl) -ties
the quality or condition of being modest
(modifier) designed to prevent inadvertent exposure of part of the body: a modesty flap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for modesty

1530s, "freedom from exaggeration, self-control," from Middle French modestie or directly from Latin modestia "moderation, sense of honor, correctness of conduct," from modestus "moderate, keeping measure, sober, gentle, temperate," from modus "measure, manner" (see mode (n.1)). Meaning "quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself" is from 1550s; that of "womanly propriety" is from 1560s.

La pudeur donne des plaisirs bien flatteurs à l'amant: elle lui fait sentir quelles lois l'on transgresse pour lui; (Modesty both pleases and flatters a lover, for it lays stress on the laws which are being transgressed for his sake.) [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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