The Meaning of FOMO: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of FOMO? This article provides you with the information you need, including its definition, usage, origin, and more!

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What Does FOMO stand for?

FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” This is a phenomenon in which someone is afraid of missing out on fun events and happenings, so they over-commit themselves to everything.

FOMO has only gotten worse with the advent of social media, because you can see all of the fun things your friends are doing online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms. An addiction to social media sites and social networking sites can cause FOMO, which can lead to negativity, low self-esteem, and even depression. The behaviors leading to FOMO can cause someone to feel low life satisfaction, loneliness, low mood, and envy.

There is a lot at risk with social media use and social connections in people’s lives, especially young adults and adolescents. They are constantly comparing themselves to their peers and might feel a lack of autonomy when every move is being documented. This can cause fluctuations in mental health, a lack of autonomy, and a lack of sleep. 

While there are positive experiences one can have on social media platforms, it can also cause a form of social anxiety due to social comparison. There is even a compulsive concern about how it affects cognitive ability

What Else Can the Abbreviation FOMO Stand For?

While the slang term meaning FOMO is the most common, this acronym has a few other things it can stand for. Take a look at this list and see if you have ever heard FOMO stand for something aside from “fear of missing out.”

  •  Fleet Operations and Maintenance Officer
  •  Fort Moultrie (US National Park Service)]
  •  Female Only/Male Only Fellowships
  •  Former Mormon
  •  Friends of Mulanje Orphans

What Is the Origin of FOMO?

The term FOMO comes from a story from a Harvard school newspaper about a variety of “ailments” that students were suffering from. This included FOMO. The story was written by Patrick McGinnis, a Harvard Business School student, where he also said it led to FOBO: the Fear of Better Options. These college students invented the term as a joke and had no idea that it would become such a hit on social media websites.

What Are Other Common Slang Terms?

Sometimes it seems like everything has an abbreviation! Slang terms and internet acronyms are extremely popular on social media. With this list, you can learn them all.

  •  TTP: To the point
  •  BC or B/C: Because
  •  TTYL: Talk to you later
  •  TBF: To be frank
  •  MFW: My face when
  •  SNMP: So not my problem
  •  IMO: In my opinion
  •  IDC: I don’t care
  •  FTFY: Fixed that for you
  •  JIC: Just in case
  •  IIRC: If I recall correctly
  •  DIKY: Do I know you?
  •  TY: Thank you
  •  AFAIK: As far as I know
  •  TBA: To be announced
  •  SRSLY: Seriously
  •  PPL: People
  •  THX: Thanks
  •  AMAA: Ask me almost anything
  •  BFF: Best friends forever
  •  HBU: How about you?
  •  OFC: Of course
  •  BBL: Be back later
  •  NP: No problem
  •  NTH: Nice to have
  •  YMMV: Your mileage may vary
  •  CYT: See you tomorrow
  •  CYA: See ya
  •  RN: Right now
  •  COB: Close of business
  •  DIY: Do it yourself
  •  TYT: Take your time
  •  SMH: Shaking my head
  •  BTW: By the way
  •  LMK: Let me know
  •  TBD: To be determined or to be decided
  •  IRL: In real life
  •  FTW: For the win
  •  IMHO: In my humble/honest opinion
  •  GR8: Great
  •  Bestie: a best friend or term of endearment
  •  KMN: Kill me know
  •  SO: Significant other
  •  FYI: For your information
  •  IKR: I know, right
  •  JK: Just kidding
  •  W/O: Without
  •  TFW: That feeling when
  •  POV: Point of view
  •  TL;DR: Too long, don’t/didn’t read
  •  OMW: On my way
  •  AMA: Ask me anything
  •  OMG: Oh my god/gosh
  •  TBC: To be continued
  •  HIFW: How I feel when
  •  Sus: Suspicious
  •  DM: Direct message
  •  ISTG: I swear to god
  •  V: Very
  •  OML: Oh my lord
  •  F2F: Face to face
  •  MRW: My reaction when
  •  IFYP: I feel your pain
  •  TIL: Today I learned
  •  ICYMI: In case you missed it
  •  IYKYK: If you know you know
  •  ASAP: As soon as possible
  •  ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
  •  IG: Instagram
  •  BDAY: Birthday
  •  IDK: I don’t know
  •  ILY: I love you
  •  MSG: Message
  •  QAP: Quick as possible
  •  Yeet: To throw something or used as an exclamation
  •  OTOH: On the other hand
  •  EOD: End of day
  •  TIA: Thanks in advance
  •  ATM: At the moment
  •  DAE: Does any else
  •  HMU: Hit me up
  •  NGL: Not gonna lie
  •  LOL: Laughing out loud
  •  YOLO: You only live once

Overall, the abbreviation FOMO stands for fear of missing out. Similar to the concept of keeping up with the Joneses, this refers to people who always want to be doing the latest and greatest, attending every event. This can lead to negative emotions and a lack of motivation in teens when they are always looking for a better opportunity.


  1. 110 Texting Acronyms, Abbreviations and Slang to Know | ZipWhip 
  2. Fomo Definition & Meaning | 
  3. Fear of missing out: A brief overview of the origin, theoretical underpinnings, and relationship with mental health | NIH 
  4. FOMO Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster 
  5. FOMO – What does FOMO stand for? | The Free Dictionary