\ˌtü-ən-ˈfrō \

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

The broad treads hugged the sand, pivoting the robot to and fro at Hyneman’s whim. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The Tank That's Tougher Than Wildfire," 13 Nov. 2018 The largest sack is perfect for hauling laundry to and fro; the smaller sizes can hold a lunchtime picnic or a change of clothes for a dip in a hot spring. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 To celebrate her collaboration with jewelry line John Hardy, Chelsea’s Cedar Lake was transformed into a Balinese market complete with spice stands, straw fans, and tuk-tuk rickshaws transporting guests to and fro. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Adwoa Aboah and John Hardy Bring Bali to New York to Celebrate Their New Collaboration," 10 Oct. 2018 Saturday Source: NOAA Clara Phillips, who lives in the Brices Creek area of New Bern, sat on her screened-in back porch on Friday, watching as the wind pushed trees to and fro. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "Florence Drenches North Carolina, Leaving Five Dead and Causing Widespread Outages," 14 Sep. 2018 In this fantastical ode to the United States Postal Service, Berger posits that before email, actual snails were responsible for transporting physical letters to and fro. Julia Turner, New York Times, "A New Technology Age: When the Technology Is Books, and the Age Is 3 to 7," 18 May 2018 Staffers in crisp white uniforms and white pointed chef’s caps dart to and fro. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appetit, "In a Land of Tortilla Factories, Enrique Olvera’s New Tortilleria Is Doing It Old School," 20 June 2018 Still passing to and fro, The young heart hot and restless, And the old subdued and slow!, "Read the poem that inspired the Longfellow Bridge’s name," 31 May 2018 Find out 14 cameras captured you on your drive to and fro and will be fining you $920. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Police release surveillance video showing man kicking over speed camera," 26 Feb. 2018

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

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living or existing for a long time

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