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1. To toss something in order to return it. A noun or pronoun is used between "throw" and "back." He tried to throw the ball back to the others across the river, but it landed in the water instead. I reeled in the fish, but it was too small so I threw it back.
2. To cast, fling, or jerk something backward. A noun or pronoun can be used between "throw" and "back." She threw her head back and howled with laughter. I threw back my arm so he couldn't reach the book in my hand.
3. To obstruct, hinder, or delay the progress of someone or something. A noun or pronoun is used between "throw" and "back." That computer virus wiped out our data and threw our project back by nearly a month. He was supposed to arrive by 9, but the traffic jam threw him back a bit.
4. To drink something very quickly or in one swig, especially an alcoholic beverage. A noun or pronoun can be used between "throw" and "back." I'm not surprised you feel so horrible, judging by the way you were throwing back drinks last night. Let me just throw this back, and I'll be ready to go.
throw someone or something back
to return someone or something by tossing. The sailor climbed out of the water into the boat, and his mates grabbed him and threw him back. That was their idea of fun. Karen threw back the undersize fish.
throw something back
Sl. to eat or drink something quickly. He threw a beer back and got up and left. She threw back a beer.
1. Hinder the progress of, check, as in His illness threw his schooling back a year, or The troops were thrown back by a barrage of fire. [First half of 1800s]
2. Revert to an earlier type or stage, as in That dog throws back to his wolf ancestors. This usage gave rise to the noun throwback, a reversion to a former stage or type. [Second half of 1800s]
3. throw back on. Cause to depend on, make reliant on, as in When the violinist didn't show up, they were thrown back on the pianist. [Mid-1800s]
1. To return something with a throw: The catcher threw the ball back. The players threw back the ball to the coach.
2. To fling something, such as a body part, backward: I threw back my head in laughter at that scene. The player threw his arm back to catch that ball.
3. To return some fish to the water after catching it: When you throw a fish back, hold it in the current until it recovers. Throw back the trout—it's too small to keep.
4. To hinder the progress of someone or something; check someone or something: The lack of money threw back the project. The storm threw the schedule back.
5. Slang To drink something, especially alcohol, in one draft by suddenly tilting: We threw back a couple of beers. The club members are at the bar throwing shots back.
6. throw back on To cause someone to depend on someone or something; make someone reliant on someone or something: The economic downturn threw us back on our own resources.