It Was The Word Of 2018... But What Does Nomophobia Really Mean?

It Was The Word Of 2018... But What Does Nomophobia Really Mean?

One of the most common anxieties of our time is the fear of being separated from our smartphone or not being able to use it. Since this type of anxiety has become more and more widespread, it has acquired the name of ‘nomophobia’, a term that has just been elected word of the year 2018 by the Cambridge Dictionary.

Capable of transforming our bodies, smartphones are also changing our ways of thinking and profoundly changing our habits, so much so that they have even created a new form of anxiety. As The Independent newspaper reveals, the word of the year 2018 designated by the Cambridge Dictionary is also related to the use of mobile phones.

The chosen term is ‘nomophobia’, which corresponds to the fear of ending up without one’s smartphone. This portmanteau word, composed of no mo(bile) and phobia (fear), was incorporated in 2017 in the dictionary, just like the words emoji and YouTuber. According to the Cambridge dictionary, ‘nomophobia’ refers to ‘a fear or worry at the idea of being without your mobile phone or unable to use it’. If forgetting your smartphone at home or it running out of battery in the middle of the day makes you anxious, you are probably nomophobic.

A very common fear according to the Cambridge Dictionary

In recent years, the Cambridge Dictionary had given the aforementioned word of the year title to the terms ‘paranoid’ (2016) and ‘populism’ (2017). The readers of the dictionary’s blog and its social media followers were the ones who gave that title to ‘nomophobia’ for 2018.

Among the other contenders, there were also the terms ‘ecocide’, ‘no-platforming’ and ‘gender-gap’. The Cambridge Dictionary asserts that this choice ‘shows that people all over the world are so used to this type of anxiety that it was indeed necessary to give it a name.’ Let's hope that now that we have given a name to this fear, we will be able to overcome it - and dare to put our smartphones away, if only for a few hours.

Check out the video above for more on this modern-day phenomenon! 

• Emma Jensen
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