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all fours

noun
  1. all four limbs or extremities; the four legs or feet of an animal or both arms and both legs or both hands and both feet of a person: The cat rolled off the ledge but landed on all fours.
  2. (used with a singular verb) Also called high-low-jack, old sledge, pitch, seven-up. Cards. a game for two or three players or two partnerships in which a 52-card pack is used, the object being to win special scoring values for the highest trump, the lowest trump, the jack, the ace, the ten, and the face cards.
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Idioms
  1. on all fours,
    1. in conformity with; corresponding exactly with.
    2. (of a person) on the hands and feet, or the hands and knees: I had to go on all fours to squeeze through the low opening.
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Origin of all fours

First recorded in 1555–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for all fours

Historical Examples

  • Claude entertained an idea of making him pose on all-fours in future.

    The Fat and the Thin

    Emile Zola

  • He picked them up, getting down on all-fours so as not to miss one.

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.

  • In the evenings he would sit and smoke a pipe, or play “all-fours.”

  • Before they could do so, however, the bear dropped back on all-fours.

    Bruin

    Mayne Reid

  • The start was begun again—this time cautiously and on all-fours.

    A Dog with a Bad Name

    Talbot Baines Reed


British Dictionary definitions for all fours

all fours

noun
  1. both the arms and legs of a person or all the legs of a quadruped (esp in the phrase on all fours)
  2. another name for seven-up
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012