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What Does TBH Mean and How to Use It?

Caleb likes to think he's Jiraiya, a ninja/author. In reality, he's never thrown a punch in his life. His pen serves as his lone weapon.

tbh-meaning

Deciphering the Meaning of TBH

Do you often see your friends sending texts that include an acronym called TBH? It's so common among people that you start to wonder why on earth you are not aware of its full form. This expression is widely popular around the world, especially among millennials.

To Be Honest

People use TBH as the abbreviation for "to be honest." It is a type of initialism that became famous in the early 2000s. In fact, it's after the text-message culture and internet relay chat (IRC) came into the forefront that this acronym gained ground. People started using various types of short forms like BRB (be right back), GTG (got to go), IMO (in my opinion), and things like that. TBH falls into this group of acronyms that suddenly became popular in the world of texting as it helped to save characters while sending a message.

You usually use TBH right at the beginning of a sentence or sometimes at the end to convey a frank feeling. For example, you want to say that you didn't like a film that your friend suggested. You should write, "TBH, I didn't like the film." On the other hand, you can also use it at the end to express a feeling of gratitude. "I don't know what I would have done without you TBH."

It's so easy to put it in a sentence, right? Well, some teenagers think that TBH means "to be heard." It's another popular term used in confessional interactions. You may think of it as the confusion between "laugh out loud" and "lots of love" for LOL. Many people still think that LOL means "lots of love." That's an LOL in itself!

But TBH for "to be heard" is more than just a confusion of letters. Teenagers use TBH in social media posts to seek honest opinions from others. They may post something like "TBH for TBH" or "like and share this post for a TBH." This means they want to give out or receive honest opinions. These opinions can be humorous or complimentary. But sometimes teenagers go a step further and start abusing or give hurtful comments.

tbh-meaning

TBH Etymology

TBH became a widely-used phrase in the later 90s and early 2000s. That was the time when SMS conversations had just started and people started sending emails. Since text messages were costly, people wanted to shorten a few words so that they could convey a message without writing too much. This brought about the use of TBH. Whenever people wanted to convey a feeling of candor or honesty, they used this phrase.

In fact, TBH became such a commonly0-used acronym that it made its entry into the Urban Dictionary in 2003. But many people were unaware of TBH because they didn't have mobile phones or internet. TBH, and other similar acronyms, as mentioned above, became a sensation post 2011.

The other definition of TBH came into the limelight in 2015-16. Well-known publications, such as Business Insider and many morning news shows reported that TBH (to be heard) is a phrase commonly used for bullying. A company even created a question-answer app called TBH with a weird quiz format targeted towards teenagers. But the popularity faded out soon as it lost traction on Google Trends. Since then, it hasn't been seen in Instagram's Story Stickers or business magazines.

How to use TBH

TBH, you should ignore "to be heard." It doesn't really make sense TBH. And that is one of the reasons why business magazines that once published the news of how "to be heard" is doing the rounds, don't use it anymore. If you want to use TBH as "to be honest," just make sure to place it at the starting or the end of a sentence; just like the two sentences at the start of this paragraph.

Of course, depending on the conversation, you can use it in the middle of a sentence also. For example, "I like strawberries, but TBH, I like all sorts of berries." But just because you can use TBH in the middle of a sentence doesn't mean you should write something like, "I was trying TBH with him." That's a crime according to grammar Nazis.

Here are a few more examples of how you should use TBH properly:

• I didn't understand the movie, TBH.

• TBH, I've always loved her from the moment I met her.

• You should let it go, TBH.

• I love football, but TBH, I also love tennis and cricket equally.

• TBH, you were the best thing that has ever happened to me.


And it's better not to discuss any examples of "to be heard." That trend is almost on the verge of fading out as hardly anyone uses it nowadays.

Now that you know the entire history of TBH, start using it while sending texts to your friends and colleagues.