\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

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 Watching the guys dodge and dive to and fro while being bossed around by these hardcore kids was everything. Becca Kufrin,, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin Explains Her Frustration Over Colton's Past with Tia: 'Can I Trust Him?'," 5 June 2018 The Warriors at their best are like a basketball version of the Blue Angels, with players darting to and fro while stopping only briefly to set a few screens along the way. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "The Warriors' magic number: How 300 has helped fuel a dynasty," 14 May 2018 The four different guys who have already traveled the Triple-A to and fro. Kevin Acee,, "Goodness of Padres' bullpen relied on too greatly," 18 Apr. 2018 The tour sites are close enough to each other to walk or bike to and fro. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "Explore the ‘secret gardens’ of King William," 27 Apr. 2018 This may have freed the creatures’ strong forelimbs—tipped with sharp claws—for defense, allowing them to swivel to and fro. Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, "Ancient human-sloth hunt hinted at in 15,000-year-old footprints," 25 Apr. 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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What made you want to look up to-and-fro? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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