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 district did, after two weeks of back and forth, offer to pay $500,000, at which point the ransomware criminals apparently ended negotiations, according to the hackers’ screenshots. Fox News, "Large Florida school district hit by ransomware attack, hackers demanded $40M," 3 Apr. 2021 But after weeks of back and forth, Actors’ Equity, the national labor union, introduced what the theater saw as a new wrinkle. New York Times, "‘Why Are We Stuck?’ Stage Actors Challenge Their Union Over Safety," 23 Mar. 2021 That set into motion about three hours of back and forth between lawyers and parties situated in two courtrooms. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Westin Cleveland Downtown will not imminently close following judge’s order," 18 Mar. 2021 The signature of the bill came on the heels of weeks of back and forth on what the bill should include, the removal of a $15 minimum wage requirement and partisan divide. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package Thursday. Here's what it does for unemployed Wisconsinites.," 12 Mar. 2021 But after a bit of back and forth, Manny eventually apologized. Natalie Morin,, "Matt James Responds To Criticism Of “Uncomfortable” Conversation With His Estranged Father," 10 Mar. 2021 The bill has seen hours of back and forth during public comment periods and sparked protests both on Capitol Hill and at Dixie State. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Bill on changing Dixie State University’s name gets final approval from Utah lawmakers," 3 Mar. 2021 There really was indeed a great deal of back and forth. CBS News, "Former senior CIA officer recalls killing of service members by suicide bomber," 30 Dec. 2020 Prosecutors noted several of the drug ring members traveled back and forth from Mexico to the U.S., even though some had previously been deported. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "A deadly trick: Mexican cartels sneak meth into US in candles shaped like penises, pharaohs," 31 Mar. 2021

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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Statistics for back-and-forth

Cite this Entry

“Back-and-forth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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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