[ throh-bak ]
See synonyms for throwback on
  1. Biology.

    • the reversion to an ancestral or earlier type or character; atavism.

    • an individual having the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type; an example of atavism.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. a setback or check.

Origin of throwback

First recorded in 1855–60; 1915–20 for def. 1; noun use of verb phrase throw back

Words Nearby throwback Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use throwback in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for throwback


/ (ˈθrəʊˌbæk) /

    • a person, animal, or plant that has the characteristics of an earlier or more primitive type

    • a reversion to such an organism

verbthrow back (adverb)
  1. (intr) to revert to an earlier or more primitive type

  2. (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


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]

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