This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Thing Not To Do Today: phub.

The verb phub is new. In fact it's so new it's news.

What does it mean?

I'll give you a clue. It's made up of two words rammed together.

Got it?

No, I didn't think you would.

The words that make up phub are phone and snub, and to phub is to answer your phone while in the middle of a conversation with someone else.

There are campaigns against it in Britain and Australia, apparently. People are even starting websites.

Good heavens, but passions must be running high.

Phub...'s not a very passionate word, phub, though, is it. And I'm not sure it describes anything new. A person who interrupts is just a person who interrupts.

Receiving a text message is surely exactly like receiving a letter. If it's done in company then it should usually be left for later. If it's very urgent, or likely to be of interest to everyone present, it can be read after an apology, an explanation, and permission has been given.

A phone call works the same way, though there is the added complication that the phone call needs to be kept as short as possible. This means that an apology and an explanation must be given to the person who's phoning, too.

It all sounds rather exhausting, I agree, but much less exhausting than getting offended and outraged.

And at least it means we won't have to bother our heads about the rather unconvincing word phub.

Thing Not To Do Today: phub. This word seems to have appeared in the last year. Phone comes for a Greek word for voice or sound, and snub comes from the Old Norse snubba, to scold.

Ah well, there's nothing like a new word to make us think, is there, so it does have its uses.


  1. I've been phubbed a few times.
    Don't like it.
    Don't like the word either!
    Phone-snubbed sounds better to me!
    But I don't really like that either! :)

    1. Perhaps "holded" might be better, as in putting someone on hold.

      "He holded me for ten minutes, and all I could do was sit there looking like a lemon."

    2. :) It works better than phubbed.
      I keep wanting to write fubbed instead!

    3. Fubbed is a less objectionable word, Jingles - and probably less open to misinterpretation than "holded!"