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What does tbh mean?

Have you seen someone write “tbh” somewhere online? In this blog post, I’ll try to resolve the apparent mystery of what that person could possibly have meant.

TBH or tbh means “To Be Honest” – it’s an abbreviation of this phrase.

“To be honest” written down, can seem like a weird thing to say! Why, would you be otherwise telling lies? Probably not.

This is an idiom, phrase, or saying. It’s essentially a filler used in speech, so why do we abbreviate it and use it online, at all?

Emphasis. That’s why. In order to emphasise that, while we always mean what we say, now we really really mean it.

TBH, the reason why I wrote this blog post, is because I know people will search for this online, and my website ranks okay in search, so I wanted to add my answer!

In this light (context) you can see why someone might not say this part. It’s where the additional honesty is flagged up. “I might not normally say this… but… tbh [blah blah]”.

Okay… So why do people use “TBH” on it’s own, on Instagram?

This crops up on Instagram too, where the kids have given TBH it’s own, slightly different, meaning.

Probably originally stemming from people leaving a comment saying “TBH, you’re hot!” under people’s pics, now they just say “TBH” or #TBH… and that’s it.

This abbreviation, got… abbreviated… and now TBH is apparently a currency. You leave a TBH on my pic, and I’ll leave one on yours. It’s like the old #FF (follow Friday) thing from Twitter; and the old MySpace friend-for-friend trends which came up… essentially, it’s a method of sharing and re-sharing each other’s content on Instagram.

In this way, TBH doesn’t really mean “To Be Honest” any more, and a lot of younger people probably only regard it as something which means the above.

This is, therefore, a new definition for the older online abbreviation, tbh, which basically means “I maybe don’t think you look hot, but I am leaving this here, hoping you’ll find one of my pics, and do likewise.” Like some kind of virtual high five. Weird? A little. But old people in the 80s thought the trendy kids wearing Hush Puppies were weird.

Robin Scott

By Robin Scott

I'm Robin Scott, a WordPress and WooCommerce expert who, along with three other people, runs a business called Silicon Dales Ltd remotely, from a base in the North West of the UK (kind of near Manchester!).

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