To-and-fro

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'To-and-fro'

To-and-fro Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    To \To\ (?, emphatic or alone, ?, obscure or unemphatic), prep. [AS. t[=o]; akin to OS. & OFries. t[=o], D. toe, G. zu, OHG. zuo, zua, z[=o], Russ. do, Ir. & Gael. do, OL. -do, -du, as in endo, indu, in, Gr. ?, as in ? homeward. [root]200. Cf. Too, Tatoo a beat of drums.]
  1. The preposition to primarily indicates approach and arrival, motion made in the direction of a place or thing and attaining it, access; and also, motion or tendency without arrival; movement toward; -- opposed to from. ``To Canterbury they wend.'' --Chaucer. Stay with us, go not to Wittenberg. --Shak. So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled. --Milton. I'll to him again, . . . He'll tell me all his purpose. She stretched her arms to heaven. --Dryden.
  2. Hence, it indicates motion, course, or tendency toward a time, a state or condition, an aim, or anything capable of being regarded as a limit to a tendency, movement, or action; as, he is going to a trade; he is rising to wealth and honor. Note: Formerly, by omission of the verb denoting motion, to sometimes followed a form of be, with the sense of at, or in. ``When the sun was [gone or declined] to rest.'' --Chaucer.
  3. In a very general way, and with innumerable varieties of application, to connects transitive verbs with their remoter or indirect object, and adjectives, nouns, and neuter or passive verbs with a following noun which limits their action. Its sphere verges upon that of for, but it contains less the idea of design or appropriation; as, these remarks were addressed to a large audience; let us keep this seat to ourselves; a substance sweet to the taste; an event painful to the mind; duty to God and to our parents; a dislike to spirituous liquor. Marks and points out each man of us to slaughter. --B. Jonson. Whilst they, distilled Almost to jelly with the act of fear, Stand dumb and speak not to him. --Shak. Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. --2 Pet. i. 5,6,7. I have a king's oath to the contrary. --Shak. Numbers were crowded to death. --Clarendon. Fate and the dooming gods are deaf to tears. --Dryden. Go, buckle to the law. --Dryden.
  4. As sign of the infinitive, to had originally the use of last defined, governing the infinitive as a verbal noun, and connecting it as indirect object with a preceding verb
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