What do you think TBH means? Even if you know its original meaning, that no longer tells the full story of TBH. Keep reading to know how to use it.
“TBH” has been around for a long time, but what does TBH mean? Even if you know its original meaning, you may be unaware that this old term now has a couple of new meanings.
So, what does TBH mean, and what are the different ways of using it? In this article, we’ll explain all, helping you use the term correctly so you don’t embarrass yourself on social media.
What Does TBH Mean? “To Be Honest” or “To Be Heard”
In most situations, TBH is used as a direct abbreviation for “to be honest.” It’s an initialism that gained traction in the late 90s or early 2000s, and its origins are closely associated with internet forums, internet relay chat (IRC), and text-message culture.
TBH is usually placed at the beginning or the end of a sentence to convey a feeling of frankness. If someone wants to be candid about an opinion, they could say “TBH, I hate video games.” Of course, the abbreviation can also be used as a tool for bluntness, flattery, or insult.
You could lift somebody up with a comment like “TBH, you’re a strong and genuine person” or bring them down with “TBH, I hate your taste in movies.”
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, the abbreviation lives a secret life among teenagers. Some kids understand the abbreviation for “to be heard”—a catchall term for social interactions that are confessional in nature.
There’s even a genre of social media posts called “TBH posts” where kids ask for their blunt opinions of each other. Teenagers might say “like this post for a TBH,” or “TBH for TBH” with the intention of handing out (or receiving) blunt opinions.
These opinions are usually meant to be complimentary or humorous, but they can also be intentionally hurtful or abusive (these are teenagers we’re talking about, after all).
TBH is a direct abbreviation for the phrase “to be honest.” In most situations, you can just use the word the abbrevation wherever you might actually say “to be honest” in a sentence.
Just keep in mind that most people use TBH at the beginning or end of a sentence. It’s occasionally used in the middle of a sentence, but only as a preposition for an independent clause.
You won’t see someone saying “I’m trying TBH with you!” That’s just an eyesore and a crime against the internet.
Here are a few quick examples of how to use TBH properly:
TBH, I could never get behind the whole Iron Man thing.
TBH, you’re my best friend. I love to text you, bro.
It’s not a big deal, TBH.
I know I’m always talking about my muscles, but I’m actually pretty weak, TBH.
I’m pretty hungry, but TBH, I’m always pretty hungry.
As for the “to be heard” definition, it’s probably not worth committing to memory. The trend is on its way out, and it’s mostly used by teenagers.
TBH is an excellent example of how initialisms can grow and develop over time. While people mostly know that it means “to be honest,” not many know of its unique usage on Instagram or its alternate meaning of “to be heard”.