The People’s Word of 2018

From New York to London to Tokyo, fans of the online Cambridge Dictionary have been voting for the word that they believe best sums up the year 2018. Our editors chose a shortlist of four words from this year’s new additions by looking at which ones were most popular and most relevant to 2018, and then asked you – our blog readers and social media followers – to vote.

The votes have now been counted and the People’s Word of 2018 has been decided. The word that received the most votes is:

nomophobia noun [U]

fear or worry at the idea of being without your mobile phone or unable to use it

The Cambridge Dictionary is one of the most popular online dictionaries in the world, and you, our users, are part of a very smart and enthusiastic global community using our free resources. So we were eager to give you the opportunity to tell us which words out of the thousands of new words and definitions we add every year best reflected 2018’s trends and events.

Your choice, nomophobia, tells us that people around the world probably experience this type of anxiety enough that you recognized it needed a name! Like many modern coinages, nomophobia is what’s called a blend: a new word made up of syllables from two or more words, in this case ‘no mobile phone phobia.’

Of course nomophobia isn’t a scientific word; a true phobia (extreme fear of something) is different from anxiety (extreme worry). The word has actually been around a lot longer than you would think. The earliest known use was in 2008 – not by psychologists, but by YouGov researchers, in a report commissioned by the UK Post Office. It then began to appear in UK media and has since spread around the world. Having proved its staying power, it was added to the online Cambridge Dictionary earlier this year.

Other words on the shortlist for the People’s Word of 2018 were:

gender gap noun [C]

a difference between the way men and women are treated in society, or between what men and women do and achieve

ecocide noun [U]

destruction of the natural environment of an area, or very great damage to it

no-platforming noun [U]

the practice of refusing someone an opportunity to make their ideas or beliefs known publicly, because you think these beliefs are dangerous or unacceptable

For more information about how the Cambridge Dictionary editors decide which new words to add to the online dictionary, take a look at the two-minute animation on our YouTube channel.

10 thoughts on “The People’s Word of 2018

  1. IworshiptheLord

    Of course ! Nomophobia !
    I should have thought it would be it which wone… Because it is unfortunately the only word who can characterize young people of today…
    I don’t like that word !

  2. Someone who cares

    Gender gap, ecocide, and no-platforming are way bigger problems than our obsession with phones. Sooo disappointed that THIS is our word of the year. By selecting nomophobia as our word of the year, we are symbolizing that we think that unequality, the destruction of our environment, and the oppression of someone’s voice is less important than fixing our obsession with phones. I’m not saying that this is everyone, but it is enough people. We NEED to fix this!!! This is pathetic and sad.

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