• synonyms


[too-uh n-froh]
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  1. back-and-forth: to-and-fro motion.
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noun, plural to-and-fros.
  1. a continuous or regular movement backward and forward; an alternating movement, flux, flow, etc.: the to-and-fro of the surf.
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Origin of to-and-fro

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


  1. Obsolete. from; back.
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  1. to and fro, alternating from one place to another; back and forth: The trees were swaying to and fro in the wind.
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Origin of fro

1150–1200; Middle English frō, frā < Old Norse frā from; akin to Old English fram from
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


British Dictionary definitions for to and fro

to and fro

adjective, adverb to-and-fro
  1. back and forth
  2. here and there
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Derived Formstoing and froing, noun


  1. back or fromSee to and fro
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Word Origin

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



noun plural fros or 'fros
  1. short for Afro
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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

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).

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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]

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see to and fro.

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