Modesty

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Modesty is often used as synonym of humility and an antonym of boastfulness; a modest person does not draw attention to their own real or supposed accomplishments and desirable attributes. Terms related to "modesty" in this sense include "shyness", and "simplicity". Related usages occur to describe modes of dress and deportment that are not considered ostentatious or alluring, or some object or attribute that is, in fact, not very desirable; a "modest dwelling" would describe a hut rather than a palace.

Quotes[edit]

  • A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades in paintings, it raises and rounds every figure, and makes the colours more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.
  • In short, if you banish modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it.
  • True modesty avoids everything that is criminal; false modesty everything that is unfashionable.
  • The good we do to others is spoilt unless we efface ourselves so completely that those we help have no sense of inferiority.
    • Honoré de Balzac, Letters of Two Brides in The Wisdom of Balzac (New York: 1923), p. 30
  • The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech; he takes a low business-tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his fact. He calls his employment by its lowest name, and so takes from evil tongues their sharpest weapon.
  • Thy modesty's a candle to thy merit.
  • Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
    Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn.
  • On the contrary, modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler virtues.
  • Longevity and short life, suffering and happiness — all aspects of human life depend on modesty in food and drink.
  • That one can be a great mind without noticing anything of it is an absurdity of which only hopeless incompetence can persuade itself, in order that it may regard the feeling of its own nothingness as modesty. … Goethe has said it bluntly: ‘Only good-for-nothings are modest.’ But even more incontestable would be the assertion that those who so eagerly demand modesty from others … are assuredly good-for-nothings, i.e. wretches entirely without merit.
  • Can it be
    That modesty may more betray our sense
    Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,
    Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
    And pitch our evils there?
  • A modest person seldom fails to gain the goodwill of those he converses with, because nobody envies a man who does not appear to be pleased with himself.
  • Modesty never rages, never murmurs, never pouts; when it is ill-treated, it pines, it beseeches, it languishes.
  • He saw her charming, but he saw not half
    The charms her downcast modesty conceal'd.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 520-21.
  • Maximum ornamentum amicitiæ tollit, qui ex ea tollit verecundiam.
    • He takes the greatest ornament from friendship, who takes modesty from it.
    • Cicero, De Amicitia, XX.
  • Modesty is that feeling by which honorable shame acquires a valuable and lasting authority.
    • Cicero, Rhetorical Invention, Book II, Section LVI.
  • Modesty antedates clothes and will be resumed when clothes are no more.
    Modesty died when clothes were born.
    Modesty died when false modesty was born.
    • Mark Twain, Memoranda. Paine's Biography of Mark Twain, Volume III, p. 1513.
  • Immodest words admit of no defence;
    For want of decency is want of sense.
  • Like the violet, which alone
    Prospers in some happy shade,
    My Castara lives unknown
    To no looser eye betrayed.
  • Why, to hear Betsy Bobbet talk about wimmin's throwin' their modesty away, you would think if they ever went to the political pole, they would have to take their dignity and modesty and throw 'em against the pole, and go without any all the rest of their lives.
  • Cui pudor et justitiæ soror incorrupta fides nudaque veritas quando ullum inveniet parem?
    • What can be found equal to modesty, uncorrupt faith, the sister of justice, and undisguised truth?
    • Horace, Carmina, I. 24. 6.
  • Modesty is to merit, what shade is to figures in a picture; it gives it strength and makes it stand out.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, The Characters or Manners of the Present Age (1688), Chapter II, Section 17.
  • Adolescentem verecundum esse decet.
    • Modesty becomes a young man.
    • Plautus, Asinaria, V. 1. 8.
  • Wenn jemand bescheiden bleibt, nicht beim Lobe, sondern beim Tadel, dann ist er's.
    • When one remains modest, not after praise but after blame, then is he really so.
    • Jean Paul Richter, Hesperus, 12.
  • Da locum melioribus.
    • Give place to your betters.
    • Terence, Phormio, III. 2. 37.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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