The Meaning of HBD: What It Is and How To Use It

This guide will give you all of the info you need on the acronym HBD, including its definition, synonyms, sentence examples, and more!

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What does the acronym HBD mean?

According to The Free Dictionary and Dictionary, the initialism HBD stands for “happy birthday.” This is used as a casual way of messaging someone on their birthday, usually via SMS text message or on social media. HBD is considered an initialism, which means that one would say each letter individually. Therefore, it would be pronounced “aitch-bee-dee,” not “hibbidy.” This initialism is almost exclusively used in text, and rarely said aloud. It does not save one much time to say HBD versus “happy birthday” aloud. This piece of internet slang is very popular to message someone on Instagram or post on Facebook on their birthday.

While “happy birthday” is the most common definition of HBD, it has a variety of other possible meanings. These are listed below from The Free Dictionary and Acronym Finder. One should be careful when using these other definitions because of the popularity of the meaning “happy birthday.” One will usually assume this acronym stands for “happy birthday,” so ensure that the context is abundantly clear before using another definition.

  • Has Been Drinking (police communications)
  • Human Biodiversity
  • Heat Balance Diagram (thermal power)
  • Hadron Bling Detector
  • Here Be Dragons
  • Hypophosphatemic Bone Disease
  • Hot Box Detector
  • Hadron Blind Detector
  • Holden by Design (car enhancement company; Australia)
  • Hidden Button Down (shirt type)
  • Hydrogen Bond Donor
  • Hydraulic Bottom Detector
  • Hierarchical Block Design
  • Highest Benefit Density
  • Handheld Business Device
  • Here by Demand (various organizations)
  • Hot Bus Driver
  • Half Board (business & finance)

Is the abbreviation HBD casual or formal?

The slang term HBD is extremely casual and should only be used in informal contexts. This piece of internet slang should only be used in SMS text messages, over social media, or in other relaxed scenarios. It is more appropriate to use the full form of the phrase in more formal contexts. In formal emails, letters, or other situations, it is more appropriate to use a more professional form of “happy birthday.” 

In the below scenario, the abbreviation HBD would be inappropriate. This is followed by a revised version of the same message. In this example, Ralph is wishing his boss a happy birthday in a card he will leave on her desk.


Hey Maisy,

HBD! Been a gr8 year working 4 u n here’s 2 many more!



Dear Maisy,

Happy Birthday! I have truly enjoyed working for you this past year. Here’s to many more happy birthdays ahead of us! 



In this scenario, Ralph should write a more formal card to his boss. If he was texting a friend, HBD would be fine, but in a formal card or letter, he should use the full form of the phrasal verbs.

What are synonyms for the abbreviation HBD?

According to 7 E S L and ESL Buzz, there are many alternate ways to wish someone a happy birthday. Some of these are also acronyms which should be used in informal contexts, but others are appropriate to use in formal situations as well.

  • HBTU – Happy Birthday To You
  • HBTY – Happy Birthday To You
  • HBB – Happy Belated Birthday
  • HLBD – Happy Late Birthday
  • HEBR – Happy Early Birthday
  • HBBD – Happy Being Born Day
  • Many more happy returns!
  • All the best on your special day!
  • May you have a fantastic day and many more to come!
  • I wish you a wonderful birthday!
  • Have a great one!
  • It’s time to celebrate!
  • May your birthday be filled with laughter!
  • Wishing you many more candles to blow.
  • I hope you have a wonderful birthday.
  • Many happy returns of the day!
  • Have a good one!
  • Have a great birthday!
  • All the best!
  • Have a fabulous birthday!
  • I wish you a happier birthday than anyone else has wished you.
  • I wish you all the best on your special day.
  • I hope you have a fantastic day and a fantastic year to come.
  • Wishing you a day that is as special as you are.

How can HBD be used in a sentence?

The abbreviation HBD can be used in many different conversations via text message or over social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat. Below are a few examples of different ways HBD can be used. In this first example, Mary Elizabeth posts on her cousin Ella Mae’s Facebook wall for her birthday.

Mary Elizabeth: Ella Mae! Wishing u a very HBD! Miss u sm and can’t wait 2 c u at xmas. Have an awesome day!

In this next example, Jennica texts her work friend Penny about some potential plans.

Jennica: Hey Penny! Do you want to come to this karaoke bar with me on Friday? They’re doing a musical theater night and I feel like you would be AWESOME!

Penny: OMG TYSM for inviting me! But it’s actually my birthday on Friday and I’m going out to dinner with my family. I would love to go there another time.

Jennica: OMG HBD! I can’t believe I didn’t know it was your birthday! We can of course reschedule – and I am DEFINITELY going to make sure something special is waiting for you in the breakroom. 

Overall, the trending slang word HBD stands for “happy birthday.” This is a very casual abbreviation, and should be exclusively used in informal contexts like SMS text messages or via social media. If one wants to wish someone a happy birthday in a more formal context, they should use the full form of the phrase.