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phubbing

Contributor(s): Trea Lavery

Phubbing, a contraction of the words “phone snubbing,” is the act of ignoring a companion in favor of using a smartphone.

Phubbers may be using their phones to check social media, text others who are not present or for any other activities, although the term usually does not refer to speaking on the phone while spending time with another person.

Studies have shown that phubbing between friends and romantic partners contributes to unhappiness in relationships and depression. Other studies have shown that simply having a smartphone in sight, such as on a table, during a conversation interferes with the connection between two people, even if the owner is not using it.

The word “phubbing” was created in 2012 as part of a marketing campaign by the publishers of the Macquarie Dictionary. A group of writers and lexicographers came up with the term and spread its use through a campaign titled “Stop Phubbing” to push the importance of having an updated dictionary with terms associated with modern culture.

This was last updated in February 2018

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