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acidmit/Shutterstock.comYou’ve most likely seen civilization throwing approximately the expression “TBH,” yet what does it mean? This expression has actually been about for quite a while, but its an interpretation has readjusted somewhat end time.

“To be Honest” or “To it is in Heard”

In many situations, TBH is provided as a straight abbreviation because that “to be honest.” It’s one initialism that gained traction in the late 90s or early on 2000s, and also its beginnings are closely connected with internet forums, internet relay chat (IRC), and text-message culture.

TBH is usually placed in ~ the start or the end of a sentence come convey a feeling of frankness. If someone desires to be candid around an opinion, they might say “TBH, ns hate video clip games.” that course, TBH can likewise be supplied as a tool for bluntness, flattery, or insult. You can lift somebody up with a comment favor “TBH, you’re a strong and genuine person” or lug them down through “TBH, I dislike your taste in movies.”


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Seems nice straightforward, right? Well, TBH resides a secret life among teenagers. Some kids understand TBH together an abbreviation because that “to be heard”—a catchall term because that social interactions that room confessional in nature.

There’s also a genre of social media posts called “TBH posts” where youngsters ask for their blunt opinions of each other. Teenagers might say “like this post for a TBH,” or “TBH for TBH” through the intention of handing out (or receiving) blunt opinions. These opinions space usually intended to be free or humorous, but they can additionally be deliberately hurtful or abusive (these are teens we’re talking about, after all).

From TBH and ago Again

As we stated earlier, TBH (to be honest) ended up being a typical phrase throughout the so late 90s or early on 2000s. The was probably used in IRC or SMS conversations come convey a sense of honesty or candor prior to spreading onto message boards and also websites. The very first Urban thesaurus entry because that TBH was added in 2003, and (according to Google Trends) words didn’t fight the huge time till 2011.


The teenage definition of TBH (to be heard) has a likewise vague history. It’s for sure to assume the expression (along with phrases favor “TBH for TBH”) began cropping up on websites favor Facebook and Tumblr about 2010. In ~ least, that’s when question-answer sites like were trendy.


Anyway, the alternative definition of TBH flew under the radar till 2015 or 2016, once morning news shows and also publications like service Insider reported on it as a potential form of bullying. Facebook must have actually noticed the trend, as the company purchased a question-answer application called TBH in 2017. The app, which failed, to be targeted toward teens and followed a weird kind of quiz format.

Sadly, the teenage an interpretation of TBH is at this time on the method out. It has lost traction top top Google Trends, that hasn’t showed up in any Business magazines, and also Instagram’s Story Stickers have effectively centralized the process of asking her friends for a TBH.

In a way, I’m personally bummed we’re ditching “to be heard.” ns think it’s an exciting phrase that points out exactly how things that space “real” or “candid” are often used as a currency for attention online. Five well, at least “to it is in honest” actually makes sense.

How to usage TBH

TBH is a straight abbreviation because that the expression “to it is in honest.” In many situations, you deserve to just use the word “TBH” where you can actually speak “to it is in honest” in a sentence.


Just store in mind the most people use TBH in ~ the beginning or finish of a sentence. It’s occasionally offered in the center of a sentence, yet only as a preposition because that an elevation clause. Friend won’t check out someone saying “I’m do the efforts TBH with you!” That’s just an eyesore and also a crime versus the internet.


Here room a few quick examples of just how to use TBH properly:

TBH, I can never acquire behind the totality Iron guy thing.TBH, you’re my best friend. I love to message you, bro.It’s not a large deal, TBH.I know I’m constantly talking around my muscles, yet I’m actually pretty weak, TBH.I’m pretty hungry, however TBH, I’m always pretty hungry.

As for the “to be heard” definition, it’s probably not worth committing to memory. The trend is top top its means out, and also it’s largely used through teenagers.

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Speaking of fads that are on their way out, now’s a good time to record up on some other interesting pieces of timely internet culture, prefer leetspeak, Finstagrams, and the native YEET. TBH, it’s nice to recognize where these pieces of society came from, even if friend don’t plan to usage them in your day-to-day life.

Andrew HeinzmanAndrew Heinzman writes for How-To Geek and Review Geek. Favor a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and also image editing for a chaos of technology news articles, day-to-day deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read full Bio »