Everyday I see them and probably you do too. People, generally under thirty, walking with their phone in hand, quite often with no other visible burden, no wallet, no purse. Presumably they're ready to instantly answer a call or a text or whatever. Is there a term, preferably non-pejorative, for this behavior?

  • 2
    Maybe millenials ;)
    – DyingIsFun
    Jun 13, 2016 at 16:52
  • 3
    We could say they are living a "hand-to-ear" existence. Jun 13, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    Why non-pejorative. I'd love a pejorative one.
    – Jacinto
    Jun 13, 2016 at 17:26
  • 2
    The Germans have come up with an amusing portmanteau, with English roots: smartphone + zombie = smombie. This, however, denotes a more totally absorbed relation with das Handi than OP perhaps has in mind.. Jun 13, 2016 at 17:32
  • I mean, my wallet generally isn't visible? Jun 13, 2016 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Nomophobe derived from "nomophobia"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomophobia "Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact".

phubber (urban-dictionary)

The combination of the words, "phone" and "snubber" which means people who lower their heads looking at their smart phones.


Related question on stack exchange

  • The question doesn't seem to imply that the phone is being utilized, only that they're holding it.
    – Catija
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:55
  • @Catija Using is a subset of holding.
    – user180089
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:57
  • But if the OP is strictly looking for a word for someone who's holding but not using their phone, this doesn't apply.
    – Catija
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:59
  • 1
    @Catija do you know anyone who holds a mobile phone all day long without checking whatsapp, selfies, texting, or whatever these people do. In order to use the cell phones they have to hold it. Unless they're driving...The OP says: Presumably they're ready to instantly answer a call or a text or whatever
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 13, 2016 at 19:06
  • I think "nomophobe" and "nomophobia" are the answer to my question although I'm glad to have added "smombie", "iPlod" and "phubber" to my vocabulary as well.
    – Al Maki
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:51

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