Slang dictionary

Throwback Thursday

or tbt or #tbt or #throwbackthursday

What does Throwback Thursday or TBT mean?

Throwback Thursday or TBT is a social-media trend when users, on Thursdays, post photographs or recollections of the past under the #throwbackthursday, #tbt, or #throwback hashtags.

Related words

MCM, WCW, picture perfect, finsta, FBF

Where does Throwback Thursday come from?

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday as a phrase dates back to at least 2006. In January that year, a blogger posted a Throwback Thursday post about classic cartoons. In July, another blogger also used the phrase as the title of a feature on his blog about sneakers. The same month, the Georgia Tech football team wore 1970s-style uniforms for Throwback Thursday, the familiar reference to the phrase suggesting the social-media trend was already in full swing at the time. The phrase turns up on Twitter in 2007, with #throwbackthursday appearing in 2008 and the abbreviated #tbt by 2009.

The phrase Throwback Thursday gained further popularity in 2011 as more blogs used the title. Hashtags appeared on Instagram in the same year, with a user called bobbysanders22 posting the first photo hashtagged “#throwbackthursday” on that site. Interest in the phrase grew throughout 2012. By 2013, Throwback Thursday had become ubiquitous on Instagram. The shortened version, #tbt, was one of the most popular hashtags on the website, used in over 127 million posts by everyone from Michelle Obama to Lebron James, according to Instagram. The popularity of the hashtag only continued, with over 365 million posts hashtagged “#tbt” as of April 2017. Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook users make widespread use of the trend as well.

Examples of Throwback Thursday

throwback thursday to when i thought beyoncé was singing 'sex and chills' instead of 'six inch heels' in lemonade
@misandrii, April, 2017
Throwback Thursdays: Grace Kelly, wearing the famous gold gown Edith Head designed for the masquerade ball in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, 1955.
miss-mandy-m, Tumblr, January, 2017
That time I was 10 years old at the beach and thought this was the coolest outfit ever. Check out these stretchy wedged sandals. #only90skidswillremember #throwbackthursday #throwback #tbt
mssummeralyse, Instagram, April, 2017

Who uses Throwback Thursday?

People use Throwback Thursday to commemorate past moments (throwbacks) in their lives, sometimes with nostalgia and other times with self-deprecation about their former selves. For example, after her hit album 1989 came out in 2014, superstar Taylor Swift posted a dorky school photo of herself.


The popular posting format for Throwback Thursday is to either append the hashtag to a post or to use the follow formula: “Throwback Thursday/tbt to _.”

Some have attempted to give the #tbt trend a very specific set of rules. For instance, you’re supposed to post pictures of yourself, not of a celebrity, and you should only post things from a different era of your life, not a week ago. But, who follows the rules anyways.

The Throwback Thursday concept has been extended beyond selfies, as well. Users might share humorous memories, pieces of history, and other information about the past.

A similar though less widespread concept is Flashback Friday. Although the names are different, users tend to post the same types of content on both days.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of Throwback Thursday like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Throwback Thursday that will help our users expand their word mastery.