\ 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 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 Those Misty Mountain eagles would have been the Uber of Middle Earth, shuttling its eager foodies to and fro with 50-foot fondue forks in their beaks. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Myriad options await National Cheese Day revelers in Central Florida," 4 June 2019 Kids are rolling to and fro in every direction, dressed head to toe in protective gear. Bethanie Baynes,, "You Know What Dads Don't Need This Father's Day? Momsplaining," 10 June 2019 Her mother reached up and patted her, pushing her to and fro, until Jo, delighted, tumbled down on top of her. National Geographic, "Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today," 17 Apr. 2019 By Joseph Epstein Lyons, 187 pages, $24.95 Within more or less discrete chapters, Mr. Epstein proceeds seamlessly to and fro, demonstrating—through example and instruction—who and what is charming and, equally important, who and what isn’t. Thomas Vinciguerra, WSJ, "‘Charm’ Review: The Most Pleasing Personality," 11 Oct. 2018 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

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.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with to-and-fro

Comments on to-and-fro

What made you want to look up to-and-fro? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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