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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of back-and-forth in a Sentence


The chair rocked back and forth. The children were shuttled back and forth between school and home.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

One of the last scenes of the film shows former lovers, now zombies, pacing back and forth past each other, obliviously emotionless as their dead hands brush against each other. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Why zombies are so hilarious," 5 Dec. 2018 As a female deer paced back and forth in a backyard, a neighbor knew something was wrong and called the Yorkville Police Department. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Yorkville police officer rescues fawn from foundation of house under construction," 7 June 2018 The mother duck can be seen in the video pacing back and forth in the street and quacking in distress as rescue workers pull the ducklings out one or two at a time. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Watch mama duck's reaction as firefighters try to rescue her babies from storm drain | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 May 2018 Prosecutors said at about 9 p.m. April 19, Terrence Wright was pacing back and forth in a courtyard building when the victim arrived home in an Uber. Deanese Williams-harris,, "Markham man denied bail in North Side sexual assault," 27 Apr. 2018 There were rumors Prince Harry would fly back and forth between London and Toronto, where Markle was filming Suits at the time. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Secret Way Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Talked When They Started Dating," 7 Mar. 2019 For those who are unable to attend the ride but would like to donate to the cause, Dragonfly is in urgent need of gift cards and especially gas cards, said Davidson, so that families can commute back and forth to the hospital and stay with patients. Andrea Cruikshank,, "Family of 'SuperBubz' starts motorcycle ride to aid Dragonfly," 11 June 2018 Although the game was a failure, it was followed the next year by Pong, a simple yet beguiling game in which short vertical lines bat a ricocheting dot back and forth to the sound of beep tones. Nellie Bowles,, "Ted Dabney, an Atari founder, Pong creator, dies at 81," 1 June 2018 His role included buying television sets and reconfiguring them as screens on which two players could battle by batting an electronic ball back and forth Ping-Pong style. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Ted Dabney Helped Found Atari and Build Pong, an Early Videogame Hit," 31 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of back-and-forth


1941, in the meaning defined above


1613, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about back-and-forth

Statistics for back-and-forth

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for back-and-forth

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

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on back-and-forth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for back-and-forth

Comments on back-and-forth

What made you want to look up back-and-forth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!