Ask Difference

Humbleness vs. Humility — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 12, 2023
Humbleness and Humility both refer to the quality of being modest and respectful, but Humility is more commonly used in formal and philosophical contexts.
Humbleness vs. Humility — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Humbleness and Humility


Key Differences

Humbleness is often used in everyday conversations to describe someone who doesn't boast or show off. Humility, while sharing the same core meaning, is a more academic or philosophical term that encompasses not just the absence of arrogance but also a deep respect for others and the limits of one's own knowledge.
Humbleness might be considered a character trait that is visible in daily actions or behavior. On the other hand, Humility is often discussed in religious or ethical contexts as a virtue or value that one must strive to achieve. While you might describe someone as showing humbleness in a specific situation, you're more likely to discuss someone's humility as an overarching characteristic or moral quality.
In terms of language, Humbleness is a noun derived from the adjective "humble," and it serves as a straightforward descriptor. Humility is also a noun, but it comes from the Latin word "humilitas," adding an element of historical and scholarly depth to its meaning. Humility is more commonly used in literature, theological discussions, and academic settings.
Humbleness might be what you observe in someone's action, such as when they step back to let someone else take credit for a project they contributed to. Humility often incorporates self-reflection and a conscious decision to act without pride or ego, even in situations where one holds power or authority.

Comparison Chart


Common in everyday speech
More formal and philosophical


Specific actions or events
Overarching virtue or value


Derived from "humble"
Derived from Latin "humilitas"


Less commonly used
More commonly used

Depth of Meaning

Simpler concept
More nuanced concept

Compare with Definitions


The quality of not being proud or arrogant.
His humbleness was evident when he credited his team for the success.


The quality of having a modest view of one's own importance.
The CEO’s humility was apparent when he listened intently to his employees.


Modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit.
His humbleness kept him grounded even after he became famous.


A disposition to be humble.
Her humility made her an excellent team player.


A tendency to consider others before oneself.
His humbleness was clear when he offered his seat to an elderly woman.


Moral and intellectual modesty.
His humility was reflected in his willingness to constantly learn.


The state of being unpretentious.
Her humbleness came through when she helped without seeking recognition.


Freedom from pride or arrogance.
His humility allowed him to accept criticism gracefully.


The absence of a sense of superiority.
Her humbleness was appreciated by all who worked with her.


Recognition of one's limitations.
With humility, she admitted that she didn't know the answer.


Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.


The characteristic of being humble; humbleness in character and behavior.


Showing deferential or submissive respect
A humble apology.


Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness.


Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly
A humble cottage.


The quality or condition of being humble.


To cause to feel humble
"He was humbled by the lack of consolation in Kornblum's expression" (Michael Chabon).


The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness.
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind.


To cause to have a lower condition or status; abase.


An act of submission or courtesy.
With these humilities they satisfied the young king.


Modesty, humility; the property of being humble.


A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride;
Not everyone regards humility as a virtue


The quality of being humble; humility; meekness.


A humble feeling;
He was filled with humility at the sight of the Pope


The state of being humble and unimportant


A humble feeling;
He was filled with humility at the sight of the Pope


A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride;
Not everyone regards humility as a virtue

Common Curiosities

Can Humbleness and Humility be used interchangeably?

Generally, yes, but the choice can depend on the context and depth of meaning desired.

Is Humility more formal?

Yes, Humility is often used in more formal and academic contexts.

What is the main difference between Humbleness and Humility?

Humbleness is more about modest behavior; Humility encompasses modesty and deep respect.

Where does the word Humbleness come from?

It's derived from the adjective "humble."

Where does the word Humility come from?

It originates from the Latin word "humilitas."

Is Humility a religious concept?

Humility is often discussed in religious texts but is also considered a virtue in secular philosophy.

Is Humbleness a virtue?

It is generally considered a positive trait but is not commonly categorized as a virtue like Humility.

Can you have too much Humility?

Excessive Humility can sometimes be mistaken for a lack of self-esteem or ambition.

How do you use Humility in a sentence?

"His humility was clear when he deferred praise to his team."

What's the adjective form of Humility?

The adjective form is also "humble."

Is Humbleness a word?

Yes, Humbleness is a word, but it's less commonly used than Humility.

Can Humbleness be a weakness?

Excessive Humbleness may be seen as a lack of confidence, depending on the situation.

What's the adjective form of Humbleness?

The adjective form is "humble."

How do you use Humbleness in a sentence?

"Her humbleness was evident when she graciously accepted the award."

Which is more prevalent in literature, Humbleness or Humility?

Humility is more commonly found in literature and scholarly works.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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