back-and-forth

[ bak-uh n-fawrth, -fohrth, -uh nd- ]
/ ˈbæk ənˈfɔrθ, -ˈfoʊrθ, -ənd- /

adjective

backward and forward; side to side; to and fro: a back-and-forth shuttling of buses to the stadium; the back-and-forth movement of a clock's pendulum.

noun

unresolved argument or discussion.

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Origin of back-and-forth

First recorded in 1605–15

Definition for back and forth (2 of 3)

Origin of back

1
before 1000; Middle English bak, Old English bæc back of the body; cognate with Old Frisian bek, Old Saxon, Old Norse bak; perhaps < Indo-European *bhogo- bending; cf. bacon

OTHER WORDS FROM back

back·less, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH back

back up backup

synonym study for back

31. Back, hind, posterior, rear refer to something situated behind something else. Back means the opposite of front: back window. Hind, and the more formal word posterior, suggest the rearmost of two or more often similar objects: hind legs; posterior lobe. Rear is used of buildings, conveyances, etc., and in military language it is the opposite of fore: rear end of a truck; rear echelon.

usage note for back

55. Although some object to their use, the phrases in back of and the shorter—and much older— back of with the meaning “behind” are fully established as standard in American English: The car was parked ( in ) back of the house. Both phrases occur in all types of speech and writing.

Definition for back and forth (3 of 3)

back2
[ bak ]
/ bæk /

adverb

Verb Phrases

go back on,
  1. to be treacherous or faithless to; betray: to go back on friends.
  2. to fail to keep; renege on: to go back on promises.

Origin of back

2
First recorded in 1480–90; aphetic variant of aback
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for back and forth (1 of 2)

Word Origin for back

Old English bæc; related to Old Norse bak, Old Frisian bek, Old High German bah

British Dictionary definitions for back and forth (2 of 2)

back2
/ (bæk) /

noun

a large tub or vat, esp one used by brewers

Word Origin for back

C17: from Dutch bak tub, cistern, from Old French bac, from Vulgar Latin bacca (unattested) vessel for liquids
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

Medical definitions for back and forth

back
[ băk ]

n.

The posterior portion of the trunk of the human body between the neck and the pelvis; the dorsum.
The backbone or spine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with back and forth (1 of 2)

back and forth

Also, backward(s) and forward(s). To and fro, moving in one direction and then the opposite and so making no progress in either. For example, The clock pendulum swung back and forth. The term is also used figuratively, as in The lawyers argued the point backwards and forwards for an entire week. [c. 1600]

Idioms and Phrases with back and forth (2 of 2)

back

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.