[too-uh n-froh]


back-and-forth: to-and-fro motion.

noun, plural to-and-fros.

a continuous or regular movement backward and forward; an alternating movement, flux, flow, etc.: the to-and-fro of the surf.

Origin of to-and-fro

First recorded in 1820–30; adj. and noun use of adv. phrase to and (fro)(def 2)




Obsolete. from; back.

Origin of fro

1150–1200; Middle English frō, frā < Old Norse frā from; akin to Old English fram from Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for to and fro

seesaw, zigzag

British Dictionary definitions for to and fro

to and fro

adjective, adverb to-and-fro

back and forth
here and there
Derived Formstoing and froing, noun




back or fromSee to and fro

Word Origin for fro

C12: from Old Norse frā; related to Old English fram from




noun plural fros or 'fros

short for Afro
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

Word Origin and History for to and fro


"away, backwards," c.1200, North English and Scottish dialectal fra, Midlands dialect fro, from Old Norse fra "from" (see from).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with to and fro

to and fro

Back and forth, as in He was like a caged animal, pacing to and fro. Strictly speaking, to means “toward” and fro “away from,” but this idiom is used more vaguely in the sense of “moving alternately in different directions.” [First half of 1300s]


see to and fro.

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