to and fro

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

to-and-fro

Adverb[edit]

to and fro (comparative more to and fro, superlative most to and fro)

  1. (dated) Back and forth; with an alternating motion.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, ch. 4:
      A light tossing to and fro and still rapidly advancing showed that one of the newcomers carried a lantern.
    • 1886, John Burroughs, Winter Sunshine, page 13:
      He bends his knees more than the white man, and oscillates more to and fro, or from side to side.
    • 1979, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), IEEE Electrical Insulation Society, tAnnual report - Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena, page 396:
      Even charges hopping on a larger array of localized sites than the two sites in (ii) execute normally many more to-and-fro oscillating motions than ...

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

to and fro (third-person singular simple present tos and fros or to and fros, present participle toing and froing or to and froing, simple past and past participle toed and froed or to and froed)

  1. (dated) To go back and forth; to alternate.

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

to and fro (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Pertaining to something or someone moving forward and back to the same position.
    • 1847, Peter Mere Latham, Lectures on subjects connected with clinical medicine, comprising diseases, page 90:
      The next day he had more power of moving his limbs, and the to and fro sound was thought to be a little less distinct.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

to and fro (plural to and fros)

  1. (dated) The movement (of someone or something) forward followed by a return to the same position. May refer to a concept such as an emotional state or a relationship as well as a physical thing.
    • 1849, Ralph Erskine, Gospel sonnets; or, Spiritual songs, page 233:
      My life's a maze of seeming traps, A scene of mercies and mishaps; A heap of jarring to and fros, A field of joys, A field of woes.