I'm sure there are some obvious words that mean this but I can't think of any. For example, he might say, "You've done an amazing job! Much better than what I could've done."


2 Answers 2


In your example, the person is displaying modesty. Depending on how much the person condescends their position in saying "than what I could've done", I might say s/he is being


  • The link shows "over-modest" only. *"Overly-modest" is incorrectly punctuated: it should be "overly modest", so the conflation of the two phrases using those parentheses is misleading.
    – user21497
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:39

I think you mean "someone who deprecates himself". You might call that person a self-deprecator. The word isn't in the dictionary, but it's been used, and it's not off the wall.

  • 1
    I think the more common usage is as an adjective, 'self-deprecating'.
    – Mitch
    Apr 4, 2013 at 13:06
  • @Mitch: Yes, I agree: "a self-deprecating person", but the OP asked for "a word" (a one-word name [noun] is what I assumed was wanted).
    – user21497
    Apr 4, 2013 at 13:49
  • Sometimes what a person asks for is not the same as the best thing that answers their need. In particular, single word requests are almost always presumptuous in their expectation of a single word.
    – Mitch
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:26
  • @Mitch: Yes, I agree. But in this case, there is a single word that fills the bill. And sometimes giving the OP what I think may best fit their needs is also presumptuous, especially when I don't know how the OP plans to use the answer. However, I'm clearly not at all shy about telling anyone what I think they should say instead of what they want to say. I think that's quite evident to anyone here who regularly reads my answers & comments. I'm neither shy nor overly modest nor self-deprecatory. I usually say what I mean & mean what I say, even when trying to be diplomatic.
    – user21497
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:34

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