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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for throwback

Contemporary Examples of throwback

Historical Examples of throwback

  • Mr. Mix gave her a look which was a throwback to his cave-man ancestry.


    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 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

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