Definition of back-and-forth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

back and forth


Definition of back and forth (Entry 2 of 2)

: backward and forward also : between two places or persons

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Examples of back-and-forth in a Sentence

Adverb The chair rocked back and forth. The children were shuttled back and forth between school and home.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The pendulum will continue to swing back and forth. NBC News, "Why Lena Waithe says being a Black queer woman has helped her in Hollywood," 13 Nov. 2020 His future chief of staff, Ronald Klain, has enjoyed a rich career of bouncing back and forth between various Democratic administrations and campaigns, lobbying, and stints in finance. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden's moment of truth," 12 Nov. 2020 The Seven Hills city bus was also shuttling people back and forth between locations. John Benson, cleveland, "Seven Hills mayor talks about Election Day mess at Hillside Middle School," 10 Nov. 2020 Tavarez had been discharged from the hospital a few days after giving birth, and family housings like Ronald McDonald House were closed because of the pandemic, so the couple drove back and forth from Ocala to Orlando to visit Diana. Naseem S. Miller,, "Baby born at 22 weeks leaves Orlando Health after 6 months," 10 Nov. 2020 Mori made frequent trips back and forth to Monaco, but continued to live in Fort Lauderdale, according to friends. Andrew Boryga,, "A Hialeah racetrack king was worth millions. Then tales of greed and deceit snarled his vast estate.," 9 Nov. 2020 Kerala was ripe for the spread of the virus, with its large urban population, many residents living abroad (and traveling back and forth), and high influx of migrant laborers from other states. Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, Science | AAAS, "How a communist physics teacher flattened the COVID-19 curve in southern India," 9 Nov. 2020 Most would opt for the kids to go back and forth between parents, but that can be very difficult for some children, who fare better living primarily with one parent. Jann Blackstone Tns, Star Tribune, "Ex-etiquette: How to handle the custody decision," 8 Nov. 2020 Local workers have been staying at the reserve, rather than commuting back and forth to their communities. James Gorman, New York Times, "Covid Infections in Animals Prompt Scientific Concern," 8 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'back-and-forth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of back-and-forth


1941, in the meaning defined above


1613, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for back-and-forth

Time Traveler

The first known use of back-and-forth was in 1613

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Cite this Entry

“Back-and-forth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for back-and-forth



English Language Learners Definition of back-and-forth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: talk or discussion about something

back and forth


English Language Learners Definition of back and forth (Entry 2 of 2)

: toward the back and then toward the front : backward and forward
: between two places or people

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