It seems like whenever someone wins something, an award or a race or something, they say that it makes them humble. Apparently, winning gold at the Olympics is a humbling experience. I always find the statements confusing. I guess I don’t know what all those winners mean by humble.

According to the internet, there are five generally accepted definitions of humble, 3 nouns and 2 verbs:

  1. having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance
  2. of low social, administrative, or political rank
  3. (of a thing) of modest pretensions or dimensions
  4. lower (someone) in dignity or importance
  5. decisively defeat (another team or competitor, typically one that was previously thought to be superior)

These are all in line with what I think when I think humble. But none of them fit when you’ve just won something, especially something big. I would think a recent winner would be proud or pleased or happy or ecstatic or even relieved. But humble? defines humble as: to be kind and honest, showing equality to others. Showing equality to others doesn’t make any sense when you’ve just beaten them. Maybe winners are kind and honest, but is it winning that makes them so?

Now, I don’t trust dictionaries. It’s likely the word has taken on some new meaning and the dictionaries haven’t caught up yet. But what is that new meaning? I’d love it if someone could tell me.

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