Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to forwards: Currency Forwards

backward(s) and forward(s)

Back and forth; moving in one direction and then the opposite. Can be used literally to refer to something or someone moving in such a way, or figuratively to refer to a situation in which no progress is made (e.g., an argument). I was pacing backwards and forwards in my room last night, worrying about this morning's exam. The two candidates debated the gun laws backward and forward, but neither could offer a productive solution in the end.
See also: and

know (something) backwards and forwards

To be extremely familiar with a particular subject, field, or piece of writing, film, music, etc. I've read this book so many times, I know it backwards and forwards. You should ask Samantha about the issue; she knows car engines backwards and forwards.
See also: and, backward, forwards, know

know something backwards and forwards and know something forwards and backwards

Fig. to know something very well; to know a passage of language so well that one could recite it backwards as well as forwards. Of course I've memorized my speech. I know it backwards and forwards.
See also: and, backward, forwards, know

backward and forward

Also, backwards and forwards.
1. Same as back and forth.
2. Thoroughly, completely, as in He read the speech over and over, until he knew it backwards and forwards. [Late 1500s]
See also: and, backward, forward

know like a book

Also, know like the back of one's hand or know backwards and forwards. Be extremely familiar with or knowledgeable about; understand perfectly. For example, I know Greg like a book-I'm sure he'll come, or I know this town like the back of my hand, or John knew his part backwards and forwards. The first of these hyperbolic idioms, dating from the early 1800s, has a close cousin in read like a book, which means "to discern someone's intent," as in I can read Greg like a book; also see under open book. The second ( back of hand) dates only from the mid-1900s. Also see backwards and forwards, def. 2; inside out, def. 2; know all the answers.
See also: book, know, like

know something backwards

mainly BRITISH or

know something backwards and forwards

If you know a subject backwards, you know a lot about it. I thoroughly enjoy lecturing and know my subject backwards. He will be very much in demand. He knows the business backwards. They know company personnel policy backwards and forwards.
See also: backward, know, something

know something backwards

be entirely familiar with something.
1991 William Trevor Reading Turgenev People who lived in the town knew it backwards.
See also: backward, know, something
References in classic literature ?
Then he crawled forward a little space and saw that he was coming to the inner mouth of the burrow, but that the shadow was deep there because of a great mass of rock which lay before the burrow shutting out the light.
It was a favourable change, and the Tankadere again bounded forward on this mountainous sea, though the waves crossed each other, and imparted shocks and counter-shocks which would have crushed a craft less solidly built.
The chief of the Blackfeet stepped forward to meet him.
His adjectives were too foul for print; they were given with such a special effort at distinctness, however, that I was smiling one instant, and giving thanks the next that Eva Denison had not come forward with her guardian.
And yet they cheered and waved their spears in triumph, and then, instead of falling back upon us as we expected, they ran forward, for a hundred yards or so, after the flying groups of foemen, took possession of a rising knoll of ground, and, resuming their triple formation, formed a threefold ring around its base.
And I shall look forward to your coming back with oh
Then turning to where his men-at-arms stood near the door, he called, "Come hither," and beckoned with his finger; whereupon the tallest of them all came forward and handed him a long leathern bag.
The regimental commander ran forward on each such occasion, fearing to miss a single word of the commander in chief's regarding the regiment.
The instant that its entire length was within the black aperture it sprang forward with the speed of a rifle ball.
But those words, spoken close to the Saw-Horse, and being the first sounds he had ever heard, so startled the animal that he made a bound forward and tumbled Tip on one side and Jack on the other.
Ozma took a chair which Jellia Jamb wheeled forward for the Ruler, and back of her stood the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and Dorothy, as well as the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger.
Pardon me," he said, stepping forward and placing his hand on Werper's other shoulder; "but this gentleman is my prisoner.
Once inside, the problem became simpler since Tarzan followed closely in the rear with his sharp spear point, an unremitting incentive to forward movement on the part of the lion.
The snow covered his eyes and the wind seemed intent on stopping him, but bending forward and constantly lapping his coat over and pushing it between himself and the cold harness pad which prevented him from sitting properly, he kept urging the horse on.
Gogoomy made no reply, but, apparently shifting weight, he slid one foot forward.