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 husband and wife were at each other from the beginning, bickering back and forth. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Selling a Great House? First, Break Up a Wrestling Match," 2 Jan. 2019 Often when doing rainbow planks, we're told to rock our hips back and forth, moving in one fluid motion. SELF, "Upper-Body Strength Builder Workout," 31 Dec. 2018 Ostriches flounced back and forth like petulant ballerinas. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Insert knife into thickest part of each of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and move back and forth to create 2 1/2-inch pocket that is as wide as possible without going through. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Cheesy Tex-Mex Stuffed Chicken," 21 Dec. 2018 Elsewhere in the demo room, Qualcomm employees loaded up the new ARM64-optimized Firefox browser as well as Edge, alongside Photoshop, then navigated back and forth, scrolling up and down. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hands on: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx reference laptop is a fresh attempt to be faster," 7 Dec. 2018 Louie Swisher: Sending pictures of your face back and forth, like sure, but like ... Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Casey Newton and Louie Swisher on the 300th episode of Recode Decode," 2 Dec. 2018 The back and forth on what constitutes good office design is enough to give a middle manager whiplash. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Fritz Hansen’s new seating makes open plan offices more bearable," 10 Oct. 2018 Users wiggle the flexible staff back and forth to tone arm and core muscles. USA TODAY, "The biggest exercise fad the year you were born," 12 July 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

More from Merriam-Webster on back-and-forth

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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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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