Having a look on dictionary definitions:


Someone who is boastful often talks proudly about things they have done or can do, or about something they own, especially in order to make other people admire them


Someone who is immodest thinks they are very good or clever and likes to talk about their achievements.


  • I hate the way she behaves. She often always speaks about her husband and his wealth and his influence in the gold market and the number of properties they own. She has never had any new word to say. She's really a/an __________ person.

a. boastful
b. immodest

I see nothing different between these two adjectives in this sense and I think I can interchange them here in this specific example.

I need to know how a native speaker thinks about them.

  • 4
    I probably wouldn't use either - certainly not immodest, which to my ear is a bookish word. I'd probably say She's conceited, or self-obsessed, or stuck up.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 13:57
  • 2
    immodest is 19th century or written language. Boastful: She's full of herself.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:25
  • @Lambie books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user3395
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:53
  • @userr2684291 So what? I agree with Colin Fine.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 15:47
  • Well, @Colin Fine do the words "conceited", "self-obsessed" and "stuck-up" mean the same to you in this sense to address someone who often speaks about their wealth or the influence they have or they abilities?
    – A-friend
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


'Boastful' and 'immodest' are synonyms when used to talk about someone who has an excessively high opinion of themselves, and who frequently speaks of their achievements. Beware, however, of using 'immodest' about a woman, because this word has a further meaning. An 'immodest' woman is one who wears clothes that reveal too much of her body. This usage is often employed by older people, or those with conservative views of how women should behave. Some people will say that this usage is sexist.

  • Thank you @Michael Harvey, but I'm wondering if using "immodest" for a loud woman who wear revealing clothes sounds a bit archaic these days.
    – A-friend
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:05
  • 2
    You misunderstood my meaning. The second use of 'immodest' refers only to clothing, not to voice or speech. It is old-fashioned, but not really 'archaic'. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:34
  • 2
    @A-friend that woman could be described as brassy. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:21
  • I would use neither 'immodest' nor 'brassy' since I feel that such labelling is distinctly sexist and/or misogynist, but I can see a distinction between 'immodest', which refers to a revealing mode of dress (cleavage, tightness, shortness of skirt, amount of flesh showing), deemed inappropriate by the speaker, and 'brassy', which suggests an overall lack of subtlety, e.g. violently dyed hair, overloaded with cheap jewellery, heavy makeup, loud manner, certain kinds of stacked shoes, etc. Not necessarily exposing flesh. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:48

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