What does tbh mean?

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

TBH or tbh originally meant “To Be Honest” – it’s an abbreviation of this phrase. Or, at least, it used to be, back when the internet was in its infancy. Now, as well as this, it also has an entirely different, abstracted, and esoteric meaning.

Do not panic, though, all will be explained in this article.

“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.

If you leave a TBH on someone’s picture, you’re basically asking them to like your pictures… or something.

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.

FAQs about TBH

What did TBH originally mean?

Originally, the abbreviation TBH meant “to be honest”.

What does TBH mean now (on Instagram)?

Nowadays, if you see TBH on Instagram or another social media channel, it means “I have clicked like on your picture (or video), please come onto my channel, and reciprocate.” The full explanation is described here.

Got Comments? TBH you have!

Agree? Disagree? Does TBH have a new, even stupider (or more sensible) meaning, which has emerged in the many months since I wrote this post? Leave a comment below. It would, of course, be exceptionally hilarious and meta if you left a comment simply reading… TBH.

About Robin Scott

I'm Robin Scott, a WordPress Consultant and WooCommerce expert developer who, along with three other people, runs a business called Silicon Dales Ltd remotely, from a base in the North of the UK. I enjoy using my talents for programming to track and interpret sporting, political or retail data - and therefore you'll see me posting some content in these spaces in this, my personal website. If you're interested to talk about leveraging this for your business (in sport, entertainment, retail, etc) please contact me.

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