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

Adverb The chair rocked back and forth. The children were shuttled back and forth between school and home.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Here’s a little animation that shows the sky at the same time each day for one year: If the Earth’s orbit were a perfect circle, the sun would simply move back and forth along a single line in the sky. Katie Peek, Popular Science, "What is a solstice? And other questions about the shortest day of the year, answered," 21 Dec. 2020 The client watches the light bar move back and forth from right to left, or listens to the sound in their ears, while recounting their trauma. Star Tribune, "Macalester senior makes eye movement therapy accessible and affordable with an app," 11 Dec. 2020 Officers checked on a group of people using shovels in a yard around 10:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and going back and forth to a van. cleveland, "Resident says BB gun damaged siding on home: Mayfield Village Police Blotter," 11 Dec. 2020 Behind this is the 40-millimeter drive, inside of which are dual neodymium ring magnets that move back and forth to create the sound. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Apple’s AirPods Max are impressive, but we’re not sold on the price…yet," 10 Dec. 2020 The child ultimately fell out of the bed of the truck while Riches was going back and forth and was run over, police said. Zach Murdock,, "Enfield man, mother charged in death of 4-year-old child run over by truck, police say," 7 Dec. 2020 Democrats and Republicans have been going back and forth. CBS News, "Americans are scared and weary as COVID-19 cases soar. They're also resilient.," 23 Nov. 2020 Veracco said some schools have imbalances, but people were allowed to move back and forth for COVID-19 reasons, if family members became uncomfortable or parents had to return to work. Hannah Reed,, "Lake Central board talks upcoming move to online, plans for next semester," 17 Nov. 2020 All individuals were free to move back and forth between rooms and observer areas, were frequently provided status updates, and staff were available for questions from those individuals. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Trump campaign files Pennsylvania lawsuit to stop certification of election results," 9 Nov. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for back-and-forth

Cite this Entry

“Back-and-forth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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

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