Definition of back-to-back in English:



  • 1British (of houses) built in a continuous terrace backing on to another terrace, with a party wall or a narrow alley between.

    ‘rows of back-to-back houses’
    • ‘But since his defeat he has now vowed not to stand again and has put the back-to-back terrace house up for sale.’
    • ‘The museum tells the story of Bradford's industrial past and includes shire horses, bus and tram rides, machinery, a mill owner's house and back-to-back cottages.’
    • ‘Whilst some of the old back-to-back dwellings which still exist may be less commodious than the subject of the article, this house is indeed the smallest through dwelling now to be found in Barnoldswick.’
    • ‘His company has terraced back-to-back houses for as little as £21, 950 and a £250,000 home in Allerton.’
    • ‘One tried to enter the three-storey back-to-back terrace home, but was beaten back by intense heat and thick smoke.’
    • ‘Throughout yesterday the passageway to the back-to-back terraced house was cordoned off by blue and white police tape and officers guarded the scene.’
    • ‘Here are the cotton mills and factories, the coal mines and back-to-back cottages from which he drew inspiration as he walked the streets of Pendlebury and Salford.’
    • ‘As part of the new procedure, the council will no longer allow operators to put skips in back streets, which the companies say will cause problems for people in back-to-back houses.’
    • ‘These were the days of back-to-back housing and rents were less than £1 a week.’
    • ‘His father was a French polisher who did not work often enough to provide the family with many creature comforts and they lived in a tiny back-to-back terraced house.’
    • ‘The back-to-back courtyard houses in Inge Street, Birmingham, date from the 18th century and are the last surviving examples of the type in the city.’
    • ‘As stunned residents looked on, forensic officers worked around a large tent in the alley at the back of Amberley Street which separates a row of back-to-back homes in neighbouring Gladstone Street.’
    • ‘The Industrial Revolution saw the start of what were known as back-to-back terrace housing.’
    • ‘Snickets and ginnels behind back-to-back houses in Bradford could be made key-holder only zones as part of a new crime-busting initiative.’
    • ‘It was a back-to-back house and the painting is of the area where we moved to.’
    • ‘She was taken out of poverty in a back-to-back house in Bradford, where her divorced mum had to bring up six children, into middle-class affluence.’
  • 2Consecutive.

    ‘his back-to-back victories in the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix’
    • ‘He hit over .400 in the first 14 games he started and belted three-run homers in back-to-back games.’
    • ‘The last two weeks represent the first time Wales have achieved back-to-back championship victories since 1994.’
    • ‘So far, the change has resulted in improved extra-base power, including back-to-back games with a homer.’
    • ‘Continuity could be the key as York City look to make it back-to-back victories when they travel to Kidderminster tonight.’
    • ‘But if he wins a big victory here, then he will look like a certifiable front-runner, having won back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.’
    • ‘It was the third time this season the Giants hit back-to-back homers.’
    • ‘It is uncertain whether the back-to-back victories for affirmative action will permanently halt recent trends against the policies.’
    • ‘The fact he is the first to record back-to-back victories since L' Escargot in 1971 speaks for itself.’
    • ‘The next time a hitter comes up after his team has just gone for back-to-back homers, you watch and decide.’
    • ‘Homers in back-to-back games could signal a turnaround.’
    • ‘SVG completed back-to-back title successes last year when they edged Trinidad and Tobago on net run rate.’
    • ‘It was a back-to-back success for Indonesia, which collected eight gold medals in the inaugural event in Jakarta last year.’
    • ‘The back-to-back sets to follow are both, in a word, stellar.’
    • ‘We walked straight into back-to-back films at the Forum.’
    • ‘It is the first time in five months City have recorded back-to-back victories and extends their unbeaten run to four games.’
    • ‘First, he entered a 1-1 game in the eighth and allowed three runs on four hits, including back-to-back homers, without recording an out.’
    • ‘With so many men out injured, these back-to-back victories for Everton are truly remarkable.’
    • ‘However, England's fate should be known before then as only back-to-back victories in the next week will leave them needing a draw in Turkey in their final game to make it through automatically.’
    • ‘He has since reached the top flight of hurdlers and is ante-post favourite to record back-to-back victories in the Champion.’
    • ‘Buoyed by two back-to-back victories, the Railwaymen will not be daunted by the prospect of challenging the Londoners, who are 14 points clear at the top of the table.’
    successive, succeeding, following, in succession, running, in a row, one after the other, continuous, solid, straight, uninterrupted, unbroken
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  • A house in a back-to-back terrace.

    ‘a street of Victorian back-to-backs’
    • ‘A natural home is not the gravel of the double drive; it's the cobbles outside the back-to-back.’
    • ‘My grandmother lived in a back to back on Denmark Road, just off Heeley Green.’
    • ‘I used to live in Water Street, in a two-up, two-down, as they used to be called, to distinguish those houses from the inferior back-to-backs which had only one room on each floor, and no yard.’
    • ‘She described how she moved into her ‘little palace’ on the estate in 1966 from a back-to-back in Cutler Heights Lane.’
    • ‘She is behind the successful restoration of Britain's last genuine back-to-backs in Birmingham and now she's involved with the Coffin Factory, which is going to become a visitors' centre.’
    • ‘The houses there were terraced back-to-backs, often one-up-one-down.’
    • ‘They only lived in a back-to-back, but Leonard had worked hard as an overlooker at the Blind Institute, and they had put a few coppers away for a rainy day.’
    • ‘Bridie lived in a back to back in Leeds and so she didn’t have a garden, just a bit of concrete and a wall at the front.’


  • 1(of two people) facing in opposite directions with their backs touching.

    ‘they sat on the ground, leaning back to back’
    • ‘Tonight, they stood back to back and the top of his head grazed her ear.’
    • ‘They fought back-to-back for many years, and were brothers to each other in their love.’
    • ‘Instead, they stood back to back on the highest ground they could find, gulping air and praying for the rescuers 240 feet above to save them.’
    • ‘His acrylic on canvass presents two persons sitting back to back.’
    • ‘They got into this one pose where they were sitting back to back, and I had them opening their hands as part of the design.’
    • ‘He captured them seated practically back to back on spindly gilt chairs at a fashion show, in an invisible yet palpable fog of unpleasantness.’
    • ‘Ben moved over to cover Alice from another angle, so the three men were standing back-to-back, forming a circular wall of protection around Alice.’
    • ‘We both require eight hours' beauty sleep a night, and sleep together in my bed, back to back - just her head peeps out of the top of the covers.’
    • ‘They stood, facing outward, back to back, looking towards the four cardinal directions.’
    • ‘Build two benches, set them back to back, and you have a full-size picnic table that seats six adults.’
    • ‘The two wooden chairs, shaped like wedges of Swiss cheese with the mandatory holes, stand back-to-back in comfortable affinity.’
  • 2Consecutively; in succession.

    ‘the games were played back to back’
    • ‘Yes, there has been a certain amount of effort saved because the films were shot back to back and were all one long story, but only a certain amount.’
    • ‘However, the attraction of putting three county titles back to back and an opportunity to defend the provincial crown proved too much.’
    • ‘Actually the great bit about the DVD compendium isn't the re-watching; it's watching six episodes back to back in little more than two hours.’
    • ‘The next occasion was in 1995 when Mount Sion were, as now, the defending champions attempting to put two titles back to back.’
    • ‘Has he ever experienced two such vital games back to back?’
    • ‘Now that I'm on the subject, what better way to spend your Saturday than watching three rugby internationals back to back?’
    • ‘We did two shows, back to back, in the Stade de France; 90,000 people per night for the French show.’
    • ‘Did the artistic directors want their own pieces to be shown back to back?’
    • ‘You may have watched all five episodes back to back.’
    • ‘For some reason, we just can't seem to string together two decent performances back to back, and when you do not have consistency your confidence suffers as well.’
    • ‘He's granting interviews back to back to the Euro press.’
    • ‘‘It wasn't part of my plan to play two of the greatest villains in children's literature back to back,’ he says.’
    • ‘And sometimes those mistakes wind up back to back on a Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘So the whole family, or just the kids, or indeed just the adults, has to show up at 2pm, ticket in hand, and sit through both movies, back to back.’
    • ‘‘I've never been with a team that has conceded so many stupid goals back to back,’ he said.’
    • ‘Evidently designed and written to be watched back to back, the two movies come off as being parts of a whole, and as such the pacing of this final part is shot from the get-go.’
    • ‘We'd chosen to take a fairly big chance and actually try to present a talk-style format instead of the easy option of playing lots of music back to back.’
    • ‘Despite sounding a little dazed after spending six and a half hours watching three films back to back, he is keeping things in perspective.’
    • ‘Congratulations to the team, selectors and committee on a marvellous achievement, putting two county titles back to back.’
    • ‘One thing I've always felt, as a man of limited memory retention, is that it is much more digestible when the issues are read back to back.’