early 15c., prostraten, "prostrate oneself, fall down flat, bow with the face to the ground" (in humility or submission), from prostrate (adj.). Transitive sense of "throw down, lay flat, overthrow" is by 1560s. Related: Prostrated; prostrating.
Mafia code of obedience to the leader and silence about the organization and its business, 1909, from Italian omertà, a dialectal form of umilta "humility," in reference to submission of individuals to the group interest, from Latin humilitas "lowness, small stature; insignificance; baseness, littleness of mind," in Church Latin "meekness," from humilis "lowly, humble," literally "on the ground," from humus "earth," from PIE root *dhghem- "earth."
1560s, "having moderate self-regard, restrained by a sense of propriety or humility," from French modeste (14c.), from Latin modestus "moderate, keeping due measure, sober, gentle, temperate," from modus "measure, manner" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Of women, "not improper or lewd, pure in thought and conduct," 1590s; of female attire, "not gaudy or showy," 1610s. Of demands, etc., "not excessive or extreme," c. 1600. Related: Modestly.
Middle English also had simplesse, from French, attested in English from mid-14c. in sense "humility, lack of pride," late 14c. as "wholeness, unity;" c. 1400 as "ignorance."
mid-14c., "lying face-down, at length on the ground" (in submission, supplication, humility, worship, etc.), from Latin prostratus, past participle of prosternere "strew in front, throw down," from pro "before, forth" (see pro-) + sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out" (from nasalized form of PIE root *stere- "to spread"). Figurative use is from 1590s. General sense of "laid out, knocked flat" is from 1670s.
c. 1400, prostracioun, "action of prostrating oneself" (in humility, adoration, etc.), from Old French prostracion (14c.) and directly from Late Latin prostrationem (nominative prostratio) "an overthrowing, a subverting," noun of action from past-participle stem of prosternere "strew in front, throw down" (see prostrate (v.)); or else a native formation from prostrate (v.). Meaning "weakness, exhaustion" is from 1650s; by early 19c. also "dejection, depression of spirits."
c. 1400, "humbleness, low state, meanness of spirit, abject situation, groveling humility," from Old French abjection (14c.), from Latin abiectionem (nominative abiectio) "dejection, despondency," literally "a throwing away, a casting off," noun of action from past-participle stem of abicere "to throw away, cast off; degrade, humble, lower," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + iacere "to throw" (past participle iactus; from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel").
early 14c., Menour, "a Franciscan," from Latin Fratres Minores "lesser brethren," name chosen by the order's founder, St. Francis, for the sake of humility; see minor (adj.). From c. 1400 as "minor premise of a syllogism." From 1610s as "person of either sex who is under legal age for the performance of certain acts" (Latin used minores (plural) for "the young"). Musical sense is from 1797 (see the adjective). Academic meaning "secondary subject of study, subject of study with fewer credits than a major" is from 1890; as a verb in this sense by 1905.