1. Having or showing a moderate estimation of one's own abilities, accomplishments, or value: was too modest to talk about his success.
a. Having or proceeding from a disinclination to call attention to oneself; retiring or diffident: a quiet, modest demeanor.
b. Observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior, or dress, especially in the avoidance of arousing sexual interest.
a. Free from showiness or ostentation; unpretentious: a house with modest furnishings. See Synonyms at plain.
b. Moderate or limited in size, quantity, or range; not extreme: a modest price; a newspaper with a modest circulation.
[Latin modestus; see med- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.