Has the Word ‘Proud’ Lost All Meaning?

The mutilation of meaning by those looking to align themselves with the progressive zeitgeist continues apace, argues Nick Simpson.

A quick google of the definition of the word ‘proud’ gives you:

Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated. e.g. “a proud grandma of three boys”.

So when the singer Pink claimed this week that she was “VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform'” it struck me as rather odd.

The key point in the above definition is that you can harbour feelings of pride for something good you’ve done yourself, or for someone you are close to who has given you satisfaction as a result of their actions.

Now, I’m no Pink biographer, but something tells me she’s neither Norwegian, nor a beach handball player. Is she related to any of the team members? Not even six degrees. So why should she profess to be proud of people she’s not related to, not friends with and has probably never even met in person?

It seems that the word ‘proud’ has now become an addition to the virtue signaller’s growing lexicon. People consciously (or perhaps unconsciously) aware that ‘proud’ denotes connotations of closeness and familiarity increasingly use the word to associate themselves with actions they view as positive and compatible to the political stance they wish to portray.

In this instance, Pink’s use of ‘proud’ paints her in an almost maternal light, allowing her to bask in the positive glow from the progressive actions of some hitherto largely unknown Norwegian sportswomen she’s never met, but is nonetheless very keen to closely associate herself with.

There are several more likely words she could have chosen; I respect. I admire. I’m happy that…but interestingly, she chose ‘proud’ to directly associate herself with the team and its actions to, in the parlance of the times, virtue signal. I suppose less cynical person than me might suggest she was spreading a message of equality of dress for all which is all well and good, but did the chance to demonstrate the “correctness” of her position on the issue at hand not enter her head at any point?

Pink is not the only one guilty of “connotation coercion”. Others in recent weeks and months have been abusing the ‘proud’ for their own gain. Prince Harry has begun to adopt the linguistic traits of the American hard left, including adopting ‘proud’ into his lexicon when he feels the need to foist his moral superiority on the rest of us by associating himself with the achievements of someone he thinks should be deified for their political morality.

Much has been made recently of obvious attempts to influence the evolution of the language by those on the left. At a widely-reported congressional hearing on “Birthing While Black,” nearly every politician used the words “birthing people” instead of “women” or “mothers.” Language changes to reflect the aims of its users in obvious ways like this, but also in subtler ways too, such as the implied connotation of a woke world view in the use of the word ‘proud’.


Published by nickteacher

Nick Simpson is a UK-born English professor living and working in South Korea. He writes about life in Korea, cross-cultural differences and family life.

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