to and fro


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

to and fro

[of movement] toward and away from something. The puppy was very active—running to and fro—wagging its tail. The lion in the cage moved to and fro, watching the people in front of the cage.
See also: and, fro

to and fro

in one direction and then in the opposite direction The children were running to and fro, knocking over all the chairs.
See also: and, fro

to and fro

Back and forth, as in He was like a caged animal, pacing to and fro. Strictly speaking, to means "toward" and fro "away from," but this idiom is used more vaguely in the sense of "moving alternately in different directions." [First half of 1300s]
See also: and, fro
References in classic literature ?
Then he was battered to and fro as a rat is shaken by a dog--to and fro on the floor, up and down, and around in great circles, but his eyes were red and he held on as the body cart-whipped over the floor, upsetting the tin dipper and the soap dish and the flesh brush, and banged against the tin side of the bath.
Nagaina was coiled up on the matting by Teddy's chair, within easy striking distance of Teddy's bare leg, and she was swaying to and fro, singing a song of triumph.
Yes, I will gladly wear your gift, and look upon it as my fairest ornament," the Water-Spirit said; and with the pearls upon her breast, she left the shore, where the child was playing gayly to and fro, and the mother's glad smile shone upon her, till she sank beneath the waves.
At first Kory-Kory goes to work quite leisurely, but gradually quickens his pace, and waxing warm in the employment, drives the stick furiously along the smoking channel, plying his hands to and fro with amazing rapidity, the perspiration starting from every pore.
The line of beasts shook and wavered to and fro, and a whisper went up that grew to a cry.
We ran to and fro in circles, capering and crying out and shaking our heads.
But, as usual, he walked to and fro, and during the day did not pass from out the turmoil of that street.
To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams.
When the eyes of the Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.
Through the twilight, as he passed to and fro, he fancied more than once that the wan face of an old man, with wistful, sorrowing eyes, was floating somewhere before him
If in the front and the key-truck of chaos, he entered terrifically into the quarrel that was raging to and fro among the drivers on their high seats, and sometimes roared oaths and violently got himself arrested.
To and fro, to and fro, to and fro again a hundred times
Haredale,' returned the other, rocking himself to and fro as in assent, and nodding at the fire, 'it's extremely manly, and really very generous in you, to meet me in this unreserved and handsome way.
The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his hands upon his ears, and with his eyes closed got up and paced violently to and fro, like one distracted.