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’
    • ‘His company has terraced back-to-back houses for as little as £21, 950 and a £250,000 home in Allerton.’
    • ‘The Industrial Revolution saw the start of what were known as back-to-back terrace housing.’
    • ‘It was a back-to-back house and the painting is of the area where we moved to.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One tried to enter the three-storey back-to-back terrace home, but was beaten back by intense heat and thick smoke.’
    • ‘These were the days of back-to-back housing and rents were less than £1 a week.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But since his defeat he has now vowed not to stand again and has put the back-to-back terrace house up for sale.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘The last two weeks represent the first time Wales have achieved back-to-back championship victories since 1994.’
    • ‘Continuity could be the key as York City look to make it back-to-back victories when they travel to Kidderminster tonight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Homers in back-to-back games could signal a turnaround.’
    • ‘We walked straight into back-to-back films at the Forum.’
    • ‘The back-to-back sets to follow are both, in a word, stellar.’
    • ‘With so many men out injured, these back-to-back victories for Everton are truly remarkable.’
    • ‘The next time a hitter comes up after his team has just gone for back-to-back homers, you watch and decide.’
    • ‘It was the third time this season the Giants hit back-to-back homers.’
    • ‘He has since reached the top flight of hurdlers and is ante-post favourite to record back-to-back victories in the Champion.’
    • ‘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 is the first time in five months City have recorded back-to-back victories and extends their unbeaten run to four games.’
    • ‘So far, the change has resulted in improved extra-base power, including back-to-back games with a homer.’
    • ‘He hit over .400 in the first 14 games he started and belted three-run homers in back-to-back games.’
    • ‘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 fact he is the first to record back-to-back victories since L' Escargot in 1971 speaks for itself.’
    • ‘It is uncertain whether the back-to-back victories for affirmative action will permanently halt recent trends against the policies.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My grandmother lived in a back to back on Denmark Road, just off Heeley Green.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She described how she moved into her ‘little palace’ on the estate in 1966 from a back-to-back in Cutler Heights Lane.’
    • ‘A natural home is not the gravel of the double drive; it's the cobbles outside the back-to-back.’


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

    ‘they sat on the ground, leaning back to back’
    • ‘The two wooden chairs, shaped like wedges of Swiss cheese with the mandatory holes, stand back-to-back in comfortable affinity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Build two benches, set them back to back, and you have a full-size picnic table that seats six adults.’
    • ‘They stood, facing outward, back to back, looking towards the four cardinal directions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2Consecutively; in succession.

    ‘the games were played back to back’
    • ‘He's granting interviews back to back to the Euro press.’
    • ‘Congratulations to the team, selectors and committee on a marvellous achievement, putting two county titles 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.’
    • ‘And sometimes those mistakes wind up back to back on a Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘I've never been with a team that has conceded so many stupid goals back to back,’ he said.’
    • ‘Has he ever experienced two such vital games back to back?’
    • ‘However, the attraction of putting three county titles back to back and an opportunity to defend the provincial crown proved too much.’
    • ‘We did two shows, back to back, in the Stade de France; 90,000 people per night for the French show.’
    • ‘The next occasion was in 1995 when Mount Sion were, as now, the defending champions attempting to put two titles back to back.’
    • ‘Did the artistic directors want their own pieces to be shown 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You may have watched all five episodes back to back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘It wasn't part of my plan to play two of the greatest villains in children's literature back to back,’ he says.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now that I'm on the subject, what better way to spend your Saturday than watching three rugby internationals back to back?’
    • ‘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.’