• WordNet 3.6
    • adj modest limited in size or scope "a small business","a newspaper with a modest circulation","small-scale plans","a pocket-size country"
    • adj modest not large but sufficient in size or amount "a modest salary","modest inflation","helped in my own small way"
    • adj modest not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance
    • adj modest marked by simplicity; having a humble opinion of yourself "a modest apartment","too modest to wear his medals"
    • adj modest free from pomp or affectation "comfortable but modest cottages","a simple rectangular brick building","a simple man with simple tastes"
    • adj modest humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness "meek and self-effacing"
    • adj modest low or inferior in station or quality "a humble cottage","a lowly parish priest","a modest man of the people","small beginnings"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Modest Evincing modestly in the actor, author, or speaker; not showing presumption; not excessive or extreme; moderate; as, a modest request; modest joy.
    • Modest Observing the proprieties of the sex; not unwomanly in act or bearing; free from undue familiarity, indecency, or lewdness; decent in speech and demeanor; -- said of a woman. "Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife.""The blushing beauties of a modest maid."
    • Modest Restraining within due limits of propriety; not forward, bold, boastful, or presumptious; rather retiring than pushing one's self forward; not obstructive; as, a modest youth; a modest man.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • modest Retiring in disposition or demeanor; restrained by a sense of propriety, humility, or diffidence; not ostentatious, bold, or forward; unobtrusive.
    • modest Acting with decorum or delicacy; restrained by chaste or scrupulous feelings; pure in thought and conduct.
    • modest Manifesting or seeming to manifest humility, propriety, or decorum; not gaudy, showy, or meretricious.
    • modest Moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant: as, a modest computation; a modest fortune.
    • modest Unpretentious.
    • modest Synonyms Unassuming, unpretending, coy, shy. See bashfulness.
    • modest Decent, chaste, virtuous.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Modest mod′est restrained by a sense of propriety: not forward: decent: chaste: pure and delicate, as thoughts or language: not excessive or extreme: moderate
    • ***


  • William Shakespeare
    “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.”
  • Oliver Goldsmith
    “A modest woman, dressed out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “If you modestly enjoy your fame you are not unworthy to rank with the holy.”
  • Socrates
    “In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.”
  • Jean De La Bruyere
    “A vain man finds it wise to speak good or ill of himself; a modest man does not talk of himself.”
  • Winston Churchill
    “He is a modest little man who has a good deal to be modest about.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. modeste, L. modestus, fr. modus, measure. See Mode
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. modestusmodus; a measure.


In literature:

You mustn't be so modest, Strong.
"The Story of Leather" by Sara Ware Bassett
I urged him to call upon you with me and proffer it boldly; but he is a very modest and delicately-minded creature, and was shy of intruding.
"The Letters of Charles Dickens" by Charles Dickens
He was modest, but that sort of thing doesn't exactly hurt the most modest of men.
"The Woman from Outside" by Hulbert Footner
Oh, there is a modest, young lady coming to the elderly folks.
"Cupology" by Clara
How true it is that real courage is always modest!
"The Hero" by William Somerset Maugham
I was getting my modest breakfast when I saw him come in.
"The Dodge Club" by James De Mille
Modestly she chose the simplest yet most beautiful of names.
"Jewish Literature and Other Essays" by Gustav Karpeles
Her demeanour was, while modest, neither shy nor self-conscious.
"Robert Orange" by John Oliver Hobbes
For a course of seven or eight months instruction this was certainly a modest estimate of expenses!
"Sword and Pen" by John Algernon Owens
In manner he was most modest, in eloquence most sweet, in chastity without a stain.
"Memorials of Old London" by Various

In poetry:

Yet with no pride his heart was moved;
He was so modest in his ways!
His daily task was all he loved,
And now and then a little praise.
"The Ballad Of A Barber" by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley
Once more the country calls
From sleep, as from his doom,
Each citizen to take
His modest stake
Where the sky falls
With a Pacific boom.
"Ode To Our Young Pro-Consuls Of The Air" by Allen Tate
The man who sought the ways of truth,
Paid friends and neighbors all their due;
A modest, sober, lovely youth,
And thought he wanted nothing new.
"Hymn 23 part 2" by Isaac Watts
Sylvia (singing). Sweet Solitude, thou placid queen
Of modest air, and brow serene!
'Tis thou inspirest the Sage's themes;
The poet's visionary dreams.
"The Search After Happiness. A Pastoral Drama" by Hannah More
Modest, retiring, and beautiful sprite,
Emblem of graces a maiden should wear,
Great is the pleasure, supreme the delight
Of searching for joys such coyness doth bear.
"Trailing Arbutus" by Jared Barhite
There where the simple daisy grew
Sae bonnie sweet, and modest too,
Thy liltin' filled its wee head fu'
O' sic a grace,
It aye is weepin' tears o' dew
Wi' droopit face.
"To Robert Burns" by James Whitcomb Riley

In news:

One of the strongest pre-sellers at last year's Cannes was a modestly budgeted British film about a stuttering king.
Between unwanted cast-off and legendary tire-shredder, a modest mill that split the difference between power and economy.
A modest production of the musical classic Gypsy follows the transformation of a young actress into burlesque star.
Ball had a modest film career before she found success in the '50s on the rival medium of television.
My modest contribution to the revolution was a quip.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota employers plan to hire workers at a modest pace in the fourth quarter of this year.
"In the past few years, I just been focusing more on solo stuff," Roc Marciano modestly explains, delivering something of an understatement.
Margarine is an everyday ingredient, so modest and unassuming that it is sometimes accused of being bland.
Comex gold prices ended the US day session modestly higher Wednesday.
As the G8 countries meet in France to discuss support of the Arab Spring, hopes are modest.
Consumers' views on the economy and its outlook weakened modestly in the middle of April, according to a report released recently.
Southeast's economy grew at a modest pace July through mid-August , Federal Reserve's Beige Book says.
A separate report said American companies engaged in a modest amount of hiring in September.
After four months of decline, North American Class 8 truck orders took a modest upturn in May Order activity is not where many hoped it would be at this point in the recovery, but analysts say the industry is still relatively healthy.
There is, after all, nothing modest about a judicial philosophy according to which legislative acts one likes deserve deference and those one doesn't like do not.

In science:

Profess-Reg. & Ord.publico Eruditorum Examini modeste sub jicit Sven Gustaf Sommelius, Stipendiarius Regius & Palmcreutzianus Lundensis.
On the Complete Solution to the Most General Fifth Degree Polynomial
In practice, r will be a modest-size integer (from 2 to 8, say) while Ms will be much larger, of order M /r .
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
Therefore modest changes of the neutrino emission and transport (in our case the omission of the velocity-dependent terms in the neutrino-momentum equation) seem to be already sufficient to push them beyond the critical threshold.
Explosion Mechanisms of Massive Stars
These modest requirements are quite plausible, indeed, and strongly back our suggestion.
The phase-diagram of the IGM and the entropy floor of groups and clusters: are clusters born warm?
We confirm previous findings that, when considered in its entirety, the GC system of M49 shows a modest net rotation that is due almost entirely to the rotation of the metal-poor subsystem.
Dynamics of the Globular Cluster System Associated with M49 (NGC4472): Cluster Orbital Properties and the Distribution of Dark Matter