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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Instead, think of the planet’s weather as a system that moves back and forth, like a playground swing. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: The real impacts of climate change have just begun," 6 June 2019 Today, companies' supply chains are more sophisticated and integrated, allowing them to mitigate currency fluctuations while goods are shipped back and forth before reaching the consumer. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump want a weaker US dollar. That could backfire," 6 June 2019 Castejon said his son is nonverbal, occasionally rocks back and forth and can become easily emotional. Shannon Hall, The Courier-Journal, "An Indiana teacher awards autistic boy with the ‘most annoying male’ trophy for the year," 5 June 2019 Many companies have created supply chains that snake back and forth across the border — meaning some companies could be forced to pay tariffs multiple times as their products travel from farms to factories to consumers. New York Times, "Trump Says No Deal With Mexico Is Reached as Border Arrests Surge," 5 June 2019 In total, 73 carriages will be used to ferry passengers back and forth. Marcy Oster,, "Knesset committee approves Jerusalem cable car plan," 4 June 2019 After Judge Jan Marshall Alexander accepted the pleas, one family member rocked back and forth on the wooden bench with her hands buried in her lap. Mckenna Oxenden,, "Three remaining teens plead guilty in death of Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio," 3 June 2019 Little People Big World stars Amy and Matt Roloff have been going back and forth over the idea of switching sides on Roloff Farms and/or potentially selling the property. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Little People, Big World' Star Amy Roloff Posts Cryptic Comment About Matt and Roloff Farms," 23 May 2019 Moss jumps back and forth in time to try to unmask the killer, exploring different timelines and suspects. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 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.

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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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Statistics for back-and-forth

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Time Traveler for back-and-forth

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

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on back-and-forth

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

Comments on back-and-forth

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behavior toward others

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