FOMO – Meaning, Origin and Usage

The term ‘FOMO’ is a common internet-based term that has made its way across social media platforms that include Facebook, Twitter and its most recent introduction to the popular crowd TikTok. Have you seen the term ‘FOMO’ and need some context for the rest of the discussion or tag? Here’s the meaning and origin of this term unpacked.


The term ‘FOMO’ is a common text-based abbreviation that is used as short for the “Fear Of Missing Out”.

When said rather than written, the term ‘FOMO’ is pronounced as fow-mow.

The term ‘FOMO’ refers to the psychological fear that some individuals have that they might miss out on something.

‘Fear Of Missing Out’ can refer to people who fear falling behind on popular trends or products, though the term can also sometimes be used to refer to individual events.

The general term ‘FOMO’ is used as a comment or part of a status, but it might also be used as a hashtag to add context to appropriate posts.

In advertising terms, the term ‘FOMO’ has been used to refer to popular trends and the consumers who try to keep up with them.

Sometimes the term ‘FOMO’ is used to refer to the general feeling of anxiety that people experience before something happens, especially before the launch of something big or notable that others are waiting for.

‘FOMO’ is used as an adverb of feeling.

The term ‘FOMO’ is almost never used as a plural expression but always remains in the singular form.

Example Usage

“Let’s get everyone together and go to the premiere. If you aren’t going to see the movie, then you’ll just stay home and have FOMO.”

“Your grandmother had serious FOMO before the first phones came out. Hey, it was a big deal back in her day.”

“In the old days, everyone used to have FOMO and it was basically just called your parents being poorer than everyone else on the other side of the neighborhood.”

“Don’t let FOMO stand in your way, go out and have some fun somewhere.”


The term ‘FOMO’ is an acronym that dates back to the start of most popular internet-based and text-based abbreviations such as “lol” and “brb” of the early 2000s.

The term ‘FOMO’ was first used in the mid-nineties, when it was applied in a column by writer Dan Herman in 1996. The term would later make it into the mainstream when he published it in 2000, and it would be soon absorbed into the rest of the acronyms that you find today on the internet.

The longer term ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ is interpreted to mean the anxiety or feeling of discomfort that people sometimes have when they are waiting for things.

Use of the term ‘FOMO’ went up drastically after the year 2000, and it has experienced a revival in the 2010s and thereafter in part thanks to marketing that has picked up on the term.

The term ‘FOMO’ experienced a further revival after 2016 with the founding and further spread of TikTok content, where users often reference ‘FOMO’ as a tag or comment.

Phrases Similar to FOMO

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Phrases Opposite to FOMO

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What is the Correct Saying?

  • FOMO
  • fomo

Ways People May Say FOMO Incorrectly

There are several incorrect ways to use the term ‘FOMO’ in conversation.

‘FOMO’ is not typically used as a plural, and is used to describe an emotion or mindset that people have and not a product or physical object.

The term ‘FOMO’ can also be used in the wrong context by anyone who does not understand the meaning of the term, or the studies that have been done on the Fear Of Missing Out in consumer marketing.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase FOMO

The correct way to use ‘FOMO’ is to apply it to “Fear Of Missing Out” or the anxiety that people experience when they are waiting for things.

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