back and forth


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back and forth

1. adjective In one direction and then another in an alternating fashion. During the party, I went back and forth to the kitchen to get drinks for the guests. The kids are outside throwing the baseball back and forth. The union and management are still going back and forth in the contract negotiation.
2. noun An argument or discussion in which two or more people alternate in sharing their perspectives. They're having a real back and forth up there—can you hear them yelling? I think we should have a little back and forth before we make a final decision.
See also: and, back, forth

back and forth

in one direction and then the other repeatedly; from one place to another repeatedly. We tossed the ball back and forth between us. The tiger paced back and forth in its cage.
See also: and, back, forth

back and forth

Also, backward(s) and forward(s). To and fro, moving in one direction and then the opposite and so making no progress in either. For example, The clock pendulum swung back and forth. The term is also used figuratively, as in The lawyers argued the point backwards and forwards for an entire week. [c. 1600]
See also: and, back, forth

ˌback and ˈforth

(also ˌbackwards and ˈforwards) in one direction and then in the opposite one, repeatedly: The rope swung back and forth from the branch.She travels backwards and forwards between the factory and head office.
See also: and, back, forth
References in classic literature ?
Jane found that by running back and forth between the bow and stern she could alternately raise and lower each end of the boat as she shifted her weight from one end to the other, with the result that each time she leaped to the stern the canoe moved a few inches farther into the river.
With the lions still padding back and forth beyond the closed door, Victory and I crossed the room to one of the windows.
The creature was making a frightful racket now, leaping back and forth from the floor at the broad window ledge, tearing at the masonry with his claws in vain attempts to reach me.
Immediately he commenced to draw the rope rapidly back and forth across the tree trunk.
Coolly, methodically, without haste, Tarzan drew the rope back and forth against the rough trunk of the small tree.
He was crying with sheer rage and eagerness as he circled back and forth for a chance to spring in.
Only Spitz quivered and bristled as he staggered back and forth, snarling with horrible menace, as though to frighten off impending death.
But I called up all my resolution, set my teeth, and hobbled back and forth from galley to cabin and cabin to galley without further mishap.
But they were supremely interested, for every little while they ardently took sides, and sometimes all were talking at once, till their voices surged back and forth in waves of sound like mimic thunder-rolls in the confined space.
I could see their faces, flushed and angry, the brutality distorted and emphasized by the sickly yellow of the sea-lamps which rocked back and forth with the ship.
She walked, indeed, two or three times back and forth from end to end--it gave her such a pleasant sensation of airy space after her hot little room; and the roof was so broad and flat that she had no fear of falling off.