What is FOMO?

Fear of missing out

FOMO is the fear of missing out on something exciting, memorable, or just plain better than what you are currently experiencing. For example, if your friends are going to a concert together but you are stuck at a work meeting, you might experience FOMO.

Origin of FOMO

The slang acronym FOMO originated in the 1990s as marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman researched the growing appetite of humans coveting things they didn't possess or experience. Additionally, author Patrick J. McGinnis referenced the FOMO concept in a 2004 article in The Harbus, a Harvard Business School magazine.

However, it wasn't until the mid-2010s that FOMO exploded in popularity. As social media permeated users' lives, it was hard not to want to experience the vacations, parties, meals, etc., that users shared in their photos and videos. Thus, FOMO officially cemented itself to describe this shared phobia.

When do people experience FOMO?

People often have FOMO when missing out on something fun, like a social gathering, incredible event, or delicious meal. However, they may also experience FOMO in other ways, such as not being privy to information, like an inside joke, or regretting not investing in or purchasing something that would improve their lives.

While anyone may experience FOMO, extroverts are the typical victims since they hate missing out on a good time. Introverts may also experience FOMO, but in regards to missing out on social gatherings, introverts may experience JOMO, which is the JOY of missing out.

Variations of FOMO

There are several variations of FOMO. In sports like hockey and football, people worried about missing out on watching these events experience FOMOH (hockey fans) and FOMOF (football fans).

Also, FOMOngering is the purposeful creation of FOMO in others. For example, businesses often do this to convince consumers they are missing out if they don't buy their product.


I decided to go to the game, even though it's likely going to be a blowout. My FOMO is too high
I hear ya. I would go too if I had the money
FOMO means
FOMO means Fear of missing out

Related Slang


Updated January 12, 2023

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