Printable Version
Pronunciation: fo-mo Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Anxiety of missing out on something exciting.

Notes: Today's word is an acronym (pronounceable abbreviation) and should be spelled in all lower case (fomo). It is listed in several dictionaries with the pronunciation above. So, it is a common noun now and should be spelled consistent with all other common acronyms, such as laser, sonar, and scuba. It isn't a proper noun like NATO, NAFTA, and NASA.

In Play: Here is the way this word should be spelled, consistent with its class: "Fomo is frequently mentioned as the blame for most of the participation in the January 2021 riot that briefly took control of the Capitol." Here is the way it is actually spelled today: "The popularity of Facebook is not based on FOMO, but the drive for self-expression and communication."

Word History: As an acronym, today's Good Word is based on the phrase 'Fear Of Missing Out'. It is what I call "lexical stock expansion", the addition of a new stem to the English vocabulary stock, not a derivation from one. Unfortunately, it is an anomalous, un-English formation unlikely to admit future derivations. Fear comes from Proto-Indo-European per- "to attempt, risk", which also produced German Gefahr and Dutch gevaar "danger". In Latin it came to be the root of periculum "danger", the ultimate origin of the English borrowing peril after the usual French adjustments. We also see it in pirate, borrowed from Latin pirata "pirate", which Latin borrowed from Greek peirates "brigand", the personal noun from peiran "to try, attempt".

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!