throw·​back | \ ˈthrō-ˌbak How to pronounce throwback (audio) \

Definition of throwback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that is suggestive of or suited to an earlier time or style his manners were a throwback to a more polite era
2a : reversion to an earlier type or phase : atavism
b : an instance or product of atavistic reversion

throw back

threw back; thrown back; throwing back; throws back

Definition of throw back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to delay the progress or advance of : check
2 : to cause to rely : make dependent they are thrown back upon … native intelligence— Michael Novak
3 : reflect

intransitive verb

: to revert to an earlier type or phase

Examples of throwback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That’s a throwback to November, when Trump, touring destruction from the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history, said Finland fought wildfires by raking the forest floors. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "In Environment Speech, Trump Fails to Mention Climate Change," 9 July 2019 Farther south in Atlanta, Ill., is The Palms Grill Café, a glorious throwback that’s recently been revitalized and reopened. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The mother of all American road trips, Route 66, begins in the Midwest," 4 July 2019 To them, narratives like the Yamnaya invasion feel like a throwback. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "When Ancient DNA Gets Politicized," 12 July 2019 Eilish is famously a major Belieber, something displayed in a recent The Ellen Show interview, as well as the throwback photo Eilish posted on Instagram below, that serves as the remix single’s art. Marcus Jones,, "Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber make a bid to dethrone 'Old Town Road' with the new 'Bad Guy' remix," 11 July 2019 The model often posts throwback photos of them together, using the hashtag #BowieForever. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Iman Remembers Her Late Husband, David Bowie: 'He Literally Did Not Understand Fear'," 2 July 2019 Designer Nate Berkus recently posted his own throwback, and bizarrely there is no awkwardness to be had. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Nate Berkus’s Throwback Photos Are The Instagram Content You Never Knew You Needed," 25 Jan. 2019 Thanks to a deft, funny script by James Vanderbilt and brisk direction by Kyle Newacheck, this throwback comedy turns out to be an easygoing charmer. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up," 24 June 2019 Even though past stars Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Meredith Vieira were briefly featured in throwback clips, the video was mainly focused on the current co-hosts' experiences with the show. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Probably Why 'Today' Left Out Tamron Hall and Ann Curry in That 25th Anniversary Clip," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

First, Braun caught a Nick Markakis fly ball on the run and then threw back into first to try and double Josh Donaldson off first, only to have Jesús Aguilar allow the ball get past him for an error. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Braves 4, Brewers 2: Offense silent again as Milwaukee's free-fall continues," 15 July 2019 The first issue of the new series throws back to that type of storytelling, putting Jimmy through a ringer of several different escapades before pointing at a potentially darker mystery. Christian Holub,, "5 comics to read this July: Reimagining classic concepts," 3 July 2019 With runners on the corners and one out, Laureano flipped the catch into throw back to the diamond that kept the runner frozen on third. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Oakland Athletics see four-game win streak derailed by Twins in extra innings," 3 July 2019 On a second-story patio, players partied with the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Cup, catching merchandise from the fans below, signing it, throwing back hats and shirts and whatever else, now bearing priceless ink. Joan Niesen,, "St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup Parade Felt Like Redemption," 16 June 2019 McHugh, who already has two minor league outings, will throw back-to-back on Friday and Saturday with Class AA Corpus Christi. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros leaning toward seven-man bullpen," 19 June 2019 Dominique Yates, Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal The new era of Louisville basketball was thrown back to the past Friday when a group of former Cardinals paid a visit to the current team. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Trae Young joined Donovan Mitchell, other alums at Louisville basketball practice Friday," 14 June 2019 Both reportedly threw back a few tequila shots to celebrate their union before Sherman ran to the airport for a job in Miami. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Every Question You Have About 'Happy!' Star Christopher Meloni’s Wife and Two Kids, Answered," 27 Mar. 2019 Everyone was covered in sweat and throwing back cups of water. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dior's New Makeup Primer Does Not Budge—Even In The Moroccan Heat," 21 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'throwback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of throwback


1883, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

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Statistics for throwback

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for throwback

The first known use of throwback was in 1656

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More Definitions for throwback



English Language Learners Definition of throwback

: a person or thing that is similar to someone or something from the past or that is suited to an earlier time


throw·​back | \ ˈthrō-ˌbak How to pronounce throwback (audio) \

Medical Definition of throwback

1 : reversion to an earlier type or phase : atavism
2 : an instance or product of atavistic reversion

More from Merriam-Webster on throwback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with throwback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for throwback

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