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[throh-bak] /ˈθroʊˌbæk/
an act of throwing back.
a setback or check.
the reversion to an ancestral or earlier type or character; atavism.
an example of this.
Origin of throwback
1855-60; 1915-20 for def 3; noun use of verb phrase throw back Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for throwback
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Mix gave her a look which was a throwback to his cave-man ancestry.

    Rope Holworthy Hall
  • This is a throwback to an earlier age when the modern state was not yet invented.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Can't you see that he is a throwback, lost in this world of science and machines?

  • He was an anachronism in our midst, a throwback to our early forebears.

  • A throwback to an era ten thousand years in the past, and therefore, as the textbooks say, prone to mental instability.

    The Old Martians Roger Phillips Graham
British Dictionary definitions for throwback


  1. a person, animal, or plant that has the characteristics of an earlier or more primitive type
  2. a reversion to such an organism
verb (adverb)
(intransitive) to revert to an earlier or more primitive type
(transitive) foll by on. to force to depend (on): the crisis threw her back on her faith in God
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for throwback

"reversion to an ancestral type or character," 1888, from throw (v.) + back (adv.); earlier it meant "a reverse in a course or progress, a relapse" (1856).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for throwback



A retro thing, person, etc; a reversion to a technique or method of an earlier period: That guy tries so hard to be a throwback to the 60s (1888+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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