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

Mami looked back and forth from Papi to me then Papi again. Longreads, "La Otra," 26 June 2018 As the film goes back and forth in time to show how relationships forged in the past resonate in the present, James will play the role of Young Donna. azcentral, "Mamma Mia! Here we go again! Sweepstakes," 13 June 2018 The teams then went back and forth, trading the lead. Steve T. Gorches,, "Stetson baseball stays hot, rolls to win over Hartford to open DeLand Regional," 2 June 2018 The German shepherd next door has been pacing back and forth every night since, nails skittering across the floor. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Do Thundershirts Really Calm Dogs During Fireworks or What?," 3 July 2018 When Ronaldo put Portugal ahead from the penalty spot following a tangle with Nacho, Hierro was pacing back and forth on the sidelines. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "Cristiano Ronaldo Ensures Spain’s Grand World Cup Experiment Gets Off to Rocky Start," 15 June 2018 Elifritz paced back and forth inside the shelter, while the witness saw police cars with lights flashing passing by outside. Maxine Bernstein,, "Homeless shelter shooting: Officers race to scene of man 'trying to stab people'," 25 May 2018 Nakhchivan ping-ponged back and forth between the Persians, Ottomans, and Russians for hundreds of years. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "People Have Been Arguing About Nakhchivan Since 'The Flood'," 21 May 2018 Steamrollers pace back and forth behind the grader to compact the gravel. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "A Shadowy War’s Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust," 22 Apr. 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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