The Difference Between Humility vs Humble (vs Modesty, vs Pride) (2024)

Humility vs humble. You’ll discover the difference between these two terms in the guide below.

I talk about humility regularly with my life coaching clients. I also discuss modesty and pride. You’ll learn how these compare to humility in this guide too. 

Let’s roll!

What Is Humility?

Humility is the quality of having a modest estimate of oneself or one’s importance.

Humility vs Humble: What’s The Difference?

Humility and humble describe the same quality. The key difference is that humility is a noun and humble is a verb. So, they’re used differently in the grammatical rules of the English language. 

Want some example sentences to refer to? You could say: 

Joseph has a lot of humility


Joseph is very humble.

These sentences would both mean the same thing. You have the freedom to use either when talking or writing. 

Humility vs Humble
Photo By cookie_studio By freepik

What Is Humbleness?

Humbleness is a direct synonym for humility. Both words are used to refer to the quality of having a modest view of oneself. Both words could replace each other in any situation and make sense.

Is Humbleness A Word?  

You can be forgiven for wondering whether humbleness is a word. It’s certainly used less often in modern society than humility. Nevertheless, humbleness in all the major dictionaries and its definition is more or less the same as humility.

Humility Vs Modesty

It’s often assumed that humility and modesty are synonyms, but that’s not completely true.

Humility (or being humble) refers to how one sees themselves, while modesty (or being modest) refers to how one presents themselves to the outside world. Humility is internal while modesty is external.

It’s therefore possible to display false modesty, but much harder to have false humility. Humility is considered the more virtuous trait.

Want some examples?

  • Despite winning the marathon, Joseph retained his modesty in school the next day.
  • Joseph had the humility to accept that some runners were better than him.  

Humility Vs Pride

Humility and pride are polar opposites. While humility describes the quality of having a modest or low estimate of oneself or one’s importance, pride describes the quality of having an inflated estimate of oneself or one’s importance.

A proud person often considers themselves to be superior to others, whereas a humble person would never have this view of themselves. Pride is associated with arrogance, where humility is associated with a lack of arrogance.

Pride is generally described as a bad trait to have, where humility is generally considered good.   

Is It Good To Be A Humble Person? 

Humility is generally seen as a good quality.

When you have this modest estimate of yourself, you’re more likely to recognize your flaws and (hopefully) improve upon them.

A humble person is more likely to respect other people and their desires. They’re unlikely to be arrogant. As such, humility tends to make you more likeable. 

Don’t mistake a humble person for someone who has low self-esteem either. It’s possible to be humble, but still value yourself. A humble person in this sense might have self-love, while still recognizing they have lots of room to improve.

It would make sense in the English language to describe a person with low self-esteem as having too much humility (or humbleness). With that said, humility is usually only described as a positive quality.

There is no link between humility and one’s sense of social freedom either. You can be humble without being shy or meek, for example. 

Remember, humility is internal, whereas meekness is a word describing how one presents themselves to the outside world. 

Related Content: Genuine Characteristics Of Kind People

Any More Questions About The Meaning Of Humility, Humble, Humbleness, Modest or Pride?

Thanks for reading my guide! I hope it made sense and you got the answers you were looking for. The examples in the sentences above should leave you with no doubt as far as the meaning of these words.

Hopefully, you understand the difference between more than you would have done by searching the dictionary definitions. What’s more, I hope this wisdom can help you in your everyday life.

If you have a question about this guide or even if you think I wrote something wrong, feel free to leave a comment below. 

It would be great to continue discussing this topic with you.

Related Posts

Signs You’ve Sold Your Soul And How To Get It Back

Easy Ways To Start Living For Yourself And Stop Living For Others

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.