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Old 05-18-2012, 02:16 PM
4,056 posts, read 2,135,556 times
Reputation: 11003


I grew up in the fifties and sixties with the understanding that to be humble was to not think highly of yourself. And the dictionary still defines it as:

1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.2. Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.
3. Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.

But-----I am constantly reading about celebrities (politicians, entertainers) saying "I am humbled" when people support them or when they win a contest or election. ??????? Isn't it just the opposite? Instead of being humbled, isn't their ego actually elevated?

I suppose that they mean they are not worthy of the support, but c'mon, if they are competing in an election or a contest then obviously they think they ARE worthy of the support. And then wouldn't they be saying that the people who voted for them or adore them don't have the good taste or sense to realize that they are not worthy of their support?

It seems like "I am humbled" would be more appropriately used after someone who is successful in politics or entertainment doesn't do well---and then they would be humbled and brought down a notch.

This may not be quite a great debate, but inquiring minds want to know....
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:24 PM
Location: Toronto
3,295 posts, read 7,016,713 times
Reputation: 2425
There's a difference between to be humble (as an adjective) and to be humbled.

Humbled is the past participle of the verb "to humble", and to humble means to lower a person's arrogance or make someone (or yourself) humble or feel the effects of humility.

(eg. a humbling experience is an experience that might make you aware of how powerless you are).

So, humbling, humbled, etc. implies to actively make (someone) humble, rather just being humble.

Last edited by Stumbler.; 05-18-2012 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:47 PM
Location: Southwest Desert
4,164 posts, read 6,316,466 times
Reputation: 3564
Great thread! Thanks!...I constantly remind myself that I don't really "know" everything there is to "know.".. This isn't quite the same as labeling myself "stupid." I give myself credit for what I've learned and achieved in life. But I just don't want to get a "big head" where I "close" my mind to the possibility of learning new things. (Or testing and challenging my existing beliefs.)...As far as politicians go I become suspicious if they go on and on about "being humbled" in their speeches.. Unfortunately too many politicians will say (or promise) anything in order to "win" votes or campaign funds etc...Words are "cheap!" But "action" and "follow-through" are the true test of "character" as far as I'm concerned.
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