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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.
1. verb To depict future events, as in a book, TV show, or movie. The show then flashes forward to connect the present and the future.
2. noun A scene or instance in a book, TV show, or movie that depicts future events. In this usage, the phrase is often hyphenated or written as one word. The show makes use of flash-forwards to connect the present and the future.
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.
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]
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.
know something backwardsmainly BRITISH or
know something backwards and forwardsmainly AMERICAN
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.
know something backwardsbe entirely familiar with something.
1991 William Trevor Reading Turgenev People who lived in the town knew it backwards.
To undergo a change of scene to a future point in time as a narrative device: The first scene of the movie shows a boy playing with a ball, and then the next scene flashes forward to the character's adulthood.