\ ˌtü-ən-ˈfrō How to pronounce to-and-fro (audio) \

Definition of to-and-fro

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: activity involving alternating movement in opposite directions the busy to-and-fro of the holiday shoppers



Definition of to-and-fro (Entry 2 of 3)

: forward and backward

to and fro


Definition of to and fro (Entry 3 of 3)

: from one place to another

Examples of to-and-fro in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb No need to pack up the car or transport soggy sleepyheads to and fro. Naveen Kumar, CNN Underscored, "How to turn your backyard into a water park this summer," 29 June 2020 Nadal had two break points at 4-4, but Medvedev fought them off, the highlight a 28-shot rally that took both players to and fro until Nadal hit a forehand into the net. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Rafael Nadal Wins the U.S. Open to Claim His 19th Grand Slam Title," 8 Sep. 2019 Joyce DiDonato, as Agrippina, the last wife of Emperor Claudius, clip-clopped to and fro in high heels, smirking conspiratorially. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Valery Gergiev Weighs Down the Met’s New “Flying Dutchman”," 16 Mar. 2020 Beneath the snow lies the subnivium, a busy microclimate where plants thrive and animals scurry to and fro. Erin Blakemore, Popular Science, "Snow is the only thing keeping some plants and animals from freezing to death," 31 Jan. 2020 The never-ending war on birds takes place far from the terminals, in the swaths of grass that lie beyond the zones where jets taxi to and fro. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! The Midair Collisions Menacing Air Travel," 24 Jan. 2020 Fantastic sea creatures make their way to and fro across her Mystic Lagoon wallpaper, an idea that came out of a trek through the Scottish Highlands. Washington Post, "RIGHT AT HOME: The look of hand-drawn art is hot in decor," 18 Sep. 2019 Aspiring TikTok stars, friends of TikTokers, and floating teens who seemed to have received word of the party hung out together by the doors of the venue, running to and fro a couple of times when another way into the building opened up. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "TikTok took over VidCon, and YouTube is next," 15 July 2019 The logistics of getting these 35,000-plus kids to and fro is difficult. Max Londberg,, "'I thought my kid was dead.' Late buses, unanswered calls leave parents panicking," 26 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'to-and-fro.' 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 to-and-fro


1553, in the meaning defined above


1749, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for to-and-fro

Time Traveler

The first known use of to-and-fro was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“To-and-fro.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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