throw·back | \ˈthrō-ˌbak \

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


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

Yet Skyscraper, a throwback to movies like Die Hard and Towering Inferno, improbably gives the actor something new to do. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'Skyscraper' Director Will Never Make a Sequel to His Cult Classic 'Dodgeball'," 13 July 2018 The feeling of being behind the wheel alone is a powerful throwback to the time before, and things get even better when June tunes the car radio to a working station. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Week's Grueling Handmaid's Tale Is A One-Woman Show," 27 June 2018 An outdoorsy spirit was also present in Prada’s low-profile trainers which channeled Nike’s ’70s waffle soles—a fitting throwback for a fashion show held on Father’s Day. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Sneakers Rule Men’s Fashion. Even Ugly Sneakers," 22 June 2018 The feature debut of Claire Scanlon (who has directed episodes for TV shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) is a delicious throwback from top to bottom. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Can Netflix’s Set It Up Help Revive the Romantic Comedy?," 21 June 2018 Some of those are surprising, some less so, but all qualify as a 32-year throwback to the last time all four of those squads represented MLB’s best: 1986. Staff,, "Nine Innings: David Price's New Vantage Point, Joe Mauer's Hall of Fame Candidacy and a Possible Reboot of the '86 Postseason," 16 Apr. 2018 In honor of Chris Martin's birthday March 2, his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow posted what would have been a cute throwback featuring the former couple and their kids, Apple, 13, and Moses, 11. Redbook, "Gwyneth Paltrow's Birthday Message to Ex Chris Martin Is So Uncomfortable," 2 Mar. 2018 The pink bathroom—a kitschy and whimsical throwback to another time. Elizabeth Finkelstein, Country Living, "Hilly & Skeeter's Houses from the Movie 'The Help' Are Both On the Market in Mississippi," 5 Feb. 2018 Where to go Head to the McColl Center for Art + Innovation uptown for its latest Community Pie Social, a throwback to a simple time where people got together to enjoy good food and good conversation. charlotteobserver, "What’s up this week in Charlotte’s visual arts?," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the agent tried to put handcuffs on him, Miranda-Alonso threw back his elbows and ran, the complaint states. Kristina Davis,, "Two arrested in separate assault attempts on Border Patrol agents," 12 May 2018 Despite a long day in the sun, Borne threw back on his uniform and met with Keyan on Saturday evening. Michelle Hunter,, "Dad lauds JPSO deputy who gave son policing pointers," 1 May 2018 In case throwing back an array of brewskis didn’t warm you up enough, a bowl of red curry with spicy chicken should do the trick. Gwendolyn Purdom, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago date idea: Craft beer festival then Thai food," 23 Feb. 2018 There seems to be a study out every week about the harmful effects of throwing back a cold one. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "How Giving Up Summer Happy Hour Saved My Sanity and My Health," 19 June 2018 Here are restaurants and bars to throw back a pint and throw a dart, too. Laurie Wilson,, "Here’s a list of some restaurants and bars where you can play darts in New England," 12 June 2018 After Vanessa filed for divorce, Donald Jr. started hitting the gym and even got a haircut, because a thot only knows how to bop when they get thrown back to the streets. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Cash Me Outside: Vanessa Trump ‘Went Gangster’ on Aubrey O’Day After Learning of Her Alleged Affair With Donald Jr.: Report," 30 Apr. 2018 And after Conforto launched a splitter for a long foul ball down the right-field line with the tying run on first base Friday night, Neris threw back-to-back fastballs, the second of which was hit for the go-ahead homer. Scott Lauber,, "Hector Neris blows another save as Phillies fall to Mets," 11 May 2018 And before that, the flying disc was just a pie tin thrown back and forth between employees at Frisbie's Pies in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Madeline Mitchell,, "Ultimate Frisbee is likely to fly into the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games. You can see the world's top players here in Greater Cincinnati," 12 July 2018

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


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1840, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for throwback

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for throwback

The first known use of throwback was in 1840

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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 \

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

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to teach someone the beliefs of a group

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