I feel like I know this word/phrase (may not necessarily be English, but it would be a common borrowed term) on the tip of my tongue but I can't seem to recall it.

It has a feeling/tone like "expected disappointment". Not quite "disheartening", nor "disenchanting" but along those lines.

The sentence I plan to use it in relates to where our solar system is placed in the galaxy - the revelation that we live on one of the smaller inconspicuous minor spiral arms of our milky way instead of a major one.

The wider historical context stems from our past belief that we are something special to the universe; the Sun, planets and the stars revolve around us. But as we progress in science, we discover that Earth moves around the Sun, that our star, the Sun, is only one of many in the Milky Way, and that our Milky Way, is only one of a set of extremely common galaxies, etc.

It's a little bit _____ to know that we live in one of the minor spiral arms - that in reality, we really aren't that special after all.

  • Humbling / deflating fit in the sentence. Jun 19, 2017 at 6:28
  • Humbling is a good choice for the sentence. I think I may have implied the "expected" section of my word in the second part of my sentence.. Actually, given the context of the content, I think that may be the word I'm looking for
    – kevqnp
    Jun 19, 2017 at 6:34
  • 1
    'Its a little bit like being plugged into the Total Perspective Vortex....' hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Total_Perspective_Vortex
    – Spagirl
    Jun 19, 2017 at 8:44

2 Answers 2


Humbling -- Macmillan

adj. making you realize that you are not as important, good, clever etc. as you thought

It's a little bit humbling to know that we live in one of the minor spiral arms - that in reality, we really aren't that special after all.


A website that defines the usually undefined pleasures and sorrows, called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, has a lot of useful words for you, but those may or may not be understood by the vast majority of English speakers. Consider one of them:


n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.

Or, in other words,

the awareness of the smallness of your perspective in the scheme of the universe.

  • While this is a really suitable word, I'm not sure how to convert this to an adjective
    – kevqnp
    Jun 19, 2017 at 6:46
  • @kevenren This answer is just for fun. Do not use it for anything formal. In English, you can verb nouns, noun verbs, adjective nouns, and noun adjectives, if you know what I mean. ;)
    – NVZ
    Jun 19, 2017 at 6:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.