all fours



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.
(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.


    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.

Origin of all fours

First recorded in 1555–65 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for all fours

Historical Examples of all fours

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

  • 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.


    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


both the arms and legs of a person or all the legs of a quadruped (esp in the phrase on all fours)
another name for seven-up
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