from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Away; back: moving to and fro.
  • prep. Scots From.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. From; away; back or backward. In modern English used only in the set phrase to and fro ("back and forth").
  • n. An afro (hairstyle).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. From; away; back or backward; -- now used only in opposition to the word to, in the phrase to and fro, that is, to and from. See to and fro under to.
  • prep. From.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • From.
  • From; away; back or backward: as in the phrase to and fro (that is, to and from, forward or toward and backward).


Middle English, probably from Old Norse frā; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fro, fra, from Old English fra ("from"), from Old Norse frá ("from"), from Proto-Germanic *fram (“from”), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (“forth, forward”). Cognate with Scots frae ("fro, from"), Icelandic frá ("from"). More at from. (Wiktionary)
A shortening of afro. (Wiktionary)



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  • Thank you!

    November 1, 2008

  • Are you thinking of sionnach's amber words?

    November 1, 2008

  • Damn. Where's the list of "orphan" words only really used in fixed constructions? (to and fro; take umbrage — that one I don't quite agree with but it's a fair enough example for now)

    While I'm here, though… here's a charming 'fro.

    (by Matt, with whom I have no connection bar the serendipitous one of a Google Image search)

    November 1, 2008