I would like to know if there is a typical expression or phrase, used by native speakers, for someone who always has their mobile phone in their hand.

I would prefer a spoken expression rather than a formal one.

  • 1
    Are you seeking an appreciative term, a despective term, or a neutral term? – tchrist Nov 14 '14 at 4:50
  • These days the expression is "an average person" – Oldcat Nov 14 '14 at 20:04
  • Dad calls them Navel Gazers. I call them Thumb Twiddlers. – Mazura Nov 14 '14 at 20:55
  • Normally we all them “someone who has lost their Bluetooth earpiece”. – tchrist Dec 9 '14 at 15:24

An old expression that predates mobile phones is: has a phone glued to his ear.

A quick Google search seems to indicate the phrase is still being used, although sometimes ear is changed to hand, thanks to the advent of texting.

  • I thought of that, too, but wasn't sure the phone had to be in use. Maybe I'm too literal. I see lots of pictures of people with phones in hand who are doing other things. – anongoodnurse Nov 14 '14 at 4:08
  • @medica - Every once in a while, the expression is very literal – like with this truck driver :^) – J.R. Nov 14 '14 at 4:10
  • That is priceless! – anongoodnurse Nov 14 '14 at 4:10

The idea of someone who is always holding in theirs hands a mobile phone ( quite a common issues) suggests an overuse and sort of 'attachment' to the tech devise. I think that a proper expression is:

  • a mobile phone addict ( see pics).

Mobile phone overuse is an issue seen among certain mobile phone users:

  • Just like the television and computers, mobile phones are technological instruments which, as numerous studies and research show, are being used more and more often and which are objects that people can become addicted to.

Consider the expression to be glued 24/7 which in speech would be

to be glued twenty-four seven

You can say this with practically anything "She's glued 24/7 to mobile phones; video games; TV; social networks; computers; Twitter; EL&U...

The following excerpt is taken from Education Week

If students are “glued” 24/7 to their mobile devices, why is it necessary for schools to teach digital literacy? Who should teach it? And wait … what does it even mean to be “digitally literate”?

  • 1
    +1 "be glued to sth" : (informal) to give all your attention to sth OR stay very close to sth – Mustafa Nov 14 '14 at 7:35

So far, the answers seem to focus on the negative aspects of being deeply attached to one's mobile phone—not that there's anything wrong with taking that view.

But at the technology magazines where I've worked, writers often put a positive spin on the same behavior by emphasizing that a person who is constantly consulting his or her smartphone or tablet or other fabulous mobile device is connected or on the grid or linked in.

My own inclination, however, is to go with slave to technology.


There is a medical word for describing that pathology:


  • care downvoter to explain? – Whimusical Dec 12 '14 at 17:38

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