[ throh-bak ]
/ ˈθroʊˌbæk /
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  1. the reversion to an ancestral or earlier type or character; atavism.
  2. an individual having the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type; an example of atavism.
a person or thing that evokes memories or imitates something from the past (often used attributively): These chandeliers are designed as a throwback to those old-style candlelit lanterns.On their anniversary, she took to social media with a throwback photo from their wedding reception.
an act of throwing back: A sudden ban on fish throwbacks could harm ecosystems, since a range of predator species are reliant on discarded fish as a food source.
a setback or check.
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Origin of throwback

First recorded in 1855–60; 1915–20 for def. 1; noun use of verb phrase throw back
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use throwback in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for throwback

/ (ˈθrəʊˌbæk) /

  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 throw back (adverb)
(intr) to revert to an earlier or more primitive type
(tr 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with throwback

throw back


Hinder the progress of, check, as in His illness threw his schooling back a year, or The troops were thrown back by a barrage of fire. [First half of 1800s]


Revert to an earlier type or stage, as in That dog throws back to his wolf ancestors. This usage gave rise to the noun throwback, a reversion to a former stage or type. [Second half of 1800s]


throw back on. Cause to depend on, make reliant on, as in When the violinist didn't show up, they were thrown back on the pianist. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.