There’s now a word for when you panic over phone separation

There is now a name for this feeling: Nomophobia – and it’s The Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year.

We’ve all experienced it. You left your phone at home or you forgot to bring it on your coffee run.

At first, you think, I’ll be fine. There was a time when I lived life without a small computer in my pocket at all times. But then the panic starts to set in. What if you are missing an important work email? Or a text from a friend? Or even more importantly, a new photo from that annoying girl you went to high school with who is now a mommy blogger. Suddenly you find yourself drenched in sweat and literally Tom Cruise-running back to wherever your phone is, pushing small children and nuns out of your way.

Well there is now a name for this feeling and it is called nomophobia and don’t worry, you aren’t alone (but still a little sad.) In fact, nomophobia is The Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year. It was chosen over ‘gender pay gap’, ‘ecocide’ and ‘no-platforming’ by Cambridge Dictionary users.

Nomophobics unite

And it isn’t just the Brits. Pew Research reported in 2017 that 77% of adults the U.S. say they’re smartphone owners, compared to a mere 35% in 2011. Forty-six percent of smartphone owners said their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without.”

“Their votes tell us that separation anxiety isn’t just about what young children feel when separated from their parents any longer. It’s now also about the intimate — and often dysfunctional — relationships with our smartphones.

And nomophobia gives a name to this anxiety,” Wendalyn Nichols, Cambridge Dictionary publishing manager, said in a statement about the announcement. ”

If you are looking to do a digital detox over the holidays, here are some tips.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.