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

The chapters switch back and forth between their stories, layering deceptions and misunderstandings. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Depraved and Beautiful Dream of the World," 12 July 2018 Going home to visit has become such a stressful event with the constant back and forth between both houses and both families vying for our attention. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Making time for both sets of grandparents on visits home," 26 June 2018 Spring has gone back and forth between the offense and defense. Andrew Lopez,, "'Best scrimmage since I took over as coach': LSU football ready for spring game," 19 Apr. 2018 In addition to touch controls, the system can be controlled via voice and a series of redundant buttons on either side of the display that make for easy switching back and forth between menus. Michael Simari, Car and Driver, "2018 Toyota RAV4," 16 Mar. 2018 Famously, Iannucci quit Veep after four seasons, because the travel back and forth between London and Baltimore, where Veep shot, became too much. Zach Baron, GQ, "Armando Iannucci Created Veep—And Quit It Because of All the Jet Lag," 9 Mar. 2018 The updated rules officially began on Jan. 1, Treadwell said, but the city and Waste Management went back and forth on the details of the new rules and agreed not to announce the changes until July. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Do you take recycling seriously? Here's how Sacramento's waste rules are changing," 10 July 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Spain's Diego Costa traded goals back and forth until Nacho took a beautiful strike from distance to give Spain their first lead in the 58th minute. CBS News, "World Cup Friday: Egypt vs. Uruguay, Morocco vs. Iran, Portugal vs. Spain," 15 June 2018 The latest two rappers to rise to the fore of the feud landscape are Drake and Pusha-T, who over Memorial Day weekend began trading insults back and forth. Raisa Bruner, Time, "What You Need to Know About the Feud Between Rappers Drake and Pusha-T," 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.

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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

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

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More Definitions for back-and-forth

back and forth


English Language Learners Definition of back and forth

: toward the back and then toward the front : backward and forward

: between two places or people

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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).


to express warning or disapproval

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