TBT Meaning

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What does TBT mean?

TBT means Throwback Thursday. It could also mean truth be told.

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TBT Meaning
Find out what TBT means and how it is used.

TBT is an initialism and a hashtag that stands for Throwback Thursday. It is a very popular hashtag on Instagram, used on Thursday when users post old photos or videos (“throwbacks”). #TBT currently has over 560 million posts on Instagram.

Where is TBT used?

TBT is used on Instagram almost exclusively as a hashtag. It may sometimes be used simply as an initialism (i.e. not as a hashtag, without the # sign).

On occasion, someone may used TBT to mean “truth be told”, but in our experience this is a relatively uncommon use, especially since Instagram was launched and #TBT became a popular hashtag.

TBT is used on the follow platforms and places:

  • texting
  • online conversation
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
An example of the initialism TBT in a text message.
An example of the initialism TBT in a text message.

How is TBT used?

#TBT is used much like any other hashtag: users use the tag on similar types of posts. These posts are usually old photos or videos. For example, someone may use #TBT on an Instagram post of a photo of them together with their siblings when they were children, or on a photo of their pet from childhood, etc.

Do people say TBT out loud?

Yes, but only when talking about the hashtag. For example, someone could find an old photograph of their friend and say “Hey, you should make a #TBT post with this old photo since it’s Thursday!”.

Example Uses of TBT

On Instagram:
Photo from my high school graduation. Time flies! #TBT #highschool #graduation

A caption of an Instagram post of a photo from someone's high school graduation. It is an old photo, hence the "throwback" in "throwback Thursday".

On Instagram:
Cleaned my closet and came across my favorite video game! I played this every day for years. #TBT #GTA #SanAndreas

Someone found a copy of GTA San Andreas and posted a photo of it to Instagram.

On Instagram:
I looked better as a child. #TBT

Someone posts a photo of them as a child to Instagram and notes that they used to look better than they do today.

On Instagram:
It's almost Friday, but since it's still Thursday here is a #TBT from when Bella was just a puppy!

Someone makes an Instagram post of an old photo of their dog Bella from when it was a puppy.

On Instagram:
#TBT to when we first met!

Someone posts a photo to Instagram of them and their significant other from when they first met.

On Snapchat:
This would be a great #TBT photo 😂

Someone sends their friend a Snapchat of an embarrassing photo from when they were younger, suggesting it'd be funny if they posted it on Instagram.

On TikTok:
#TBT anyone remember this dance?

A TikTok users posts a video of a dance they used to do.

In a text message:
TBT that's a terrible idea. You'll probably lose all your money.

A friend sends a text message to another friend suggesting they don't make a terrible investment.

On online conversation:
TBT you need to stay away from him. He doesn't care about you at all.

A friend receiving advice to stay away from someone who is toxic.

Who uses TBT?

TBT seems to be used by a fairly wide range of people, including pretty much anyone who uses Instagram.

History of TBT

First Use

TBT was probably used to mean “truth be told” before it meant Throwback Thursday; there is an Urban Dictionary definition defining it as “truth be told” posted in early 2009, while Instagram was launched in late 2009.

It was first defined on Urban Dictionary as meaning Throwback Thursday in 2012, when Instagram was becoming increasingly popular. This matches up with the graph from Google Trends showing searches for TBT becoming more common at the same time.

Data from Google Trends showing the popularity of searches for TBT.
Data from Google Trends showing the popularity of searches for TBT.

Rise in Popularity

We see that more and more people were searching for the initialism in 2012 when people began using it on Instagram.

What was used before TBT?

People may have used the hashtag #throwback before #TBT.

As an initialism meaning “truth be told”, people would simply have just said or typed the words rather than the abbreviated letters.

Other Definitions of TBT

TBT can also mean:

  • truth be told

truth be told

The original TBT, this initialism was and may sometimes still be used in online conversations to mean “truth be told”.