Regular users of LinkedIn will know that the word is, of course, “humbled.” If pretty much anything good happens to you – especially anything good which makes you feel any emotion in the proud/self-satisfied/vindicated spectrum – the way you feel these days is humbled.
Words change their meanings all the time, and it’s not unusual for them to flip more or less through 180 degrees and start taking on the opposite of their previous meaning. In somewhat different parts of the English-language forest, words such as “wicked”, “awful” and “egregious” come to mind. Even by these standards, though, the recent transformation of “humbled” is striking. According to the dictionary, it means “feeling less important or proud” or in a different sense “decisively defeated.” According to hundreds of LinkedIn posts, though, it means “proud and happy and wanting to show off about whatever it is, but in a way that doesn’t sound too insufferably smug.”
No Small Change, my financial services marketing book co-written with Anthony Thomson, is now published. And we’re both feeling truly, madly, deeply humbled.