We, the Humble Bragger Desis: So Humble, the Humbled and Truly Humbled

Anu Chitrapu

By Anu Chitrapu

INDIA New England News Columnist

BELMONT, MA–We are all so humble! Just look at your Facebook feed and you can see all the “humbled” folks. I think we desis have given a new meaning to the word humbled, much different from what the Oxford Dictionary had in mind.

Anu Chitrapu

When we win an award, instead of saying, “excited to be a winner” we say, “won a major award for xyz – humbled!.” I know the statement sounds far from humble and also technically incorrect from the language point of view.  And while many folks do indulge in the occasional, or not so occasional (please!) humblebrag*, we literally use the word “humbled” in our attempt at humblebragging – wonder if it is because we are so kind, we don’t want to put the burden of figuring out this is a humblebrag on our readers. Better just to use the word humbled so that all the associations with the word can nicely come into play.

A “oh so humble” example is when someone says they were “humbled” to be the chief guest at an event for schoolkids. Now, you might wonder why it was a humbling experience. If you find the answer please do let me know too, because I am still wondering.

The funny thing is if someone invented the internet or found a cure for cancer, you never see them “humbled” – wonder if it is because they are so busy inventing or finding the cure that they don’t have time to put a “humbled” post, or whether it is because they really not feeling humbled. Or something else? Since I have never been there I am not going to guess.

And by the way, our kids know about their parents’ humbled games.  Last year, I was out of town on a day when my son was expected to hear back from a school he applied to. I texted him asking if had heard and he texted me back a single word – “humbled!”. I responded with “congratulations!”

So my friends, here’s wishing you a humbling summer – go conquer the world. I will be watching my Facebook feeds and will do some text mining for the word “humbled”. May we all remain forever humbled!



  1. an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.



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