Definition of fore and aft in US English:

fore and aft


  • 1At the front and rear (often used with reference to a ship or plane)

    ‘we're moored fore and aft’
    • ‘The strut assemblies fore and aft are new; there's a rear sway bar added to handle cornering loads.’
    • ‘Bucher substituted two lighter .50-caliber machine guns mounted fore and aft, both heavily exposed positions.’
    • ‘If the ramps were icy, one person had to keep watch to make sure the plane didn't creep ahead even though the main landing gear legs were chocked fore and aft.’
    • ‘It attaches to the rifle fore and aft, just as any conventional sling.’
    • ‘At first when sails triumphed over oars, a large square sail was rigged on the mainmast while two smaller sails fore and aft gave the ship maneuverability.’
    • ‘The oarsmen fore and aft of the middle of the ship would provide power when the wind dropped or came ahead, the conditions under which sailing barges would anchor and wait.’
    • ‘At first glance the pistol looks like a full-size Caspian widebody with some ports in the slide and lots of grasping grooves fore and aft.’
    • ‘There is an anchor locker forward and rigging shrouds are well inboard for easy passage fore and aft.’
    • ‘Inside the house, near the hearth, a gnarly old maple (rescued from county chain saws by the client) stands in rough-hewn opposition to the sleek columns fore and aft.’
    • ‘Both Baltic Surveyor and the pontoon were moored fore and aft to two buoys which were themselves anchored by chains to two substantial concrete blocks lying on the sea bed, a so-called trot mooring.’
    • ‘The aircraft was positioned fore and aft with five feet of load clearance to starboard and three feet to port.’
    • ‘Despite pleas from his staff, Adm Togo continued to fire on Russian warships that had lowered their flags at Tsushima until they also stopped and swung their guns fore and aft, according to international convention.’
    • ‘European vessels incorporated the triangular sails fore and aft of the mainsails for the purpose of navigating out to sea to catch the favorable trade winds for the square sails to utilize.’
    • ‘The crucial point, on his argument, is that the vessel here is not attached fore and aft to dolphins and to anchors in the bed of the river but is secured to moorings on the dock side. This distinction does not seem to me to be significant.’
    • ‘It had sleeping cabins fore and aft, and while the aft stateroom had a minuscule desk, it was the V-berth forward cabin that I settled on for my working area.’
    • ‘He shortened the front sight fore and aft to make it match the tiny rear Novak.’
    • ‘Their job was to check that all explosives had detonated (they had) and to retrieve the cameras mounted fore and aft.’
    • ‘The station had pulse cannons mounted fore and aft.’
    • ‘At 20.00 hours I took over the watch from the Chief Officer on course 135, we were navigating by satellite and radar, at 21.00 hours the Master ordered the helmsman to get out the mooring lines fore and aft.’
    • ‘I took in the details of the boat as we approached: twin masts, the triangular sails rigged fore and aft, the small shelter mounted on the aft cabin for the helmsman, the high prow, and the small dingy hanging off the back.’
    1. 1.1 Backward and forward.
      ‘a sperm whale cannot see directly fore and aft’
      • ‘He scurried fore and aft, from the rudder to the helm, trying to keep the Hesperus on course.’
      • ‘When compressed, it becomes sufficiently narrow to slide fore and aft between the rear wheel arches, giving a choice of more luggage space but less legroom, or the reverse.’
      • ‘As expected from any Freedom Arms six-guns, the action is smooth, the cylinder locks up tightly, with almost no movement of the cylinder either fore and aft or side-to-side.’
      • ‘The size of each can be adjusted to find the optimum balance between leg and luggage room by sliding the rear seat fore and aft.’
      • ‘The muscle arrangement at the hip and knee maximizes stability, yet gives the leg the ability to make wide swings fore and aft.’
      • ‘Other appealing details include a front passenger seat with a fold-down back that becomes a desk surface when you park, and rear seats that slide fore and aft, fold flat or can be stowed vertically to dramatically increase luggage-room.’
      • ‘The front seats provide a fore and aft slide range of 240 mm.’
      • ‘The rest is stretched fore and aft of this point and fastened to the body.’
      • ‘When you have a cylinder with considerable fore and aft play, there's room for the rear of the cartridge to move while the bullet is still leaving the mouth.’
      • ‘The middle pair of seats can be electrically moved fore and aft by 25.3 in.; they are also adjustable side-to-side, so as to provide more room for people who need to get to the third row.’
      • ‘With 20 degrees or six degrees of rudder available, the pedals move about three inches fore and aft.’
      • ‘The stirrup is really important because the grip is pulled up into the frame and can't shift fore and aft, as is possible with conventional grip screws.’
      • ‘Aircraft Performance Performance generally refers to the motion of the airplane along its flight path, fore and aft, up or down, right or left.’
      • ‘The turrets of the Leupold, Zeiss and Swarovski scopes were well centered in the middle of the straight tube section so that, once mounted, the scopes could readily be shifted fore and aft in the rings.’
      • ‘It joins the bar and stem with two clamps that allow you to adjust position by 50 mm fore and aft.’
      • ‘Digging out creates a natural parking space, a rectangular black patch squeezed fore and aft by white mountains tossed up by plowing.’
      • ‘The driver's chair looked good, smelled good and had good lateral support, and was adjustable fore and aft and up and down as well.’
      • ‘Drag loads were taken by beaded metal skin with the beads running fore and aft.’
      • ‘There is a large central storage unit incorporating cupholders and power point which can be slid fore and aft, a big glovebox, large door-bins and even a storage drawer beneath the rear seat cushion.’
      • ‘It is either too loose (slight movement fore and aft with front brake clamped) or too tight (binds when turned - worse when turned to right than to left).’
      • ‘She walked fore and aft and could not locate her groom.’
      • ‘During small-deck RAST landings, the pilot who isn't at the controls is responsible for backing up the flying pilot by scanning the deck for fore and aft drift.’
      • ‘As an option on all versions, the Multi Wagon is available with split rear seats which slide independently fore and aft, recline to 30 degrees, or can be folded down.’


  • 1attributive Backward and forward.

    ‘the fore-and-aft motion of the handles’
    • ‘The elevation/windage turret of the Illuminator is located in the middle of the tube, facilitating fore-and-aft mounting adjustments when I placed it on a very accurate Model 70 in. 243 Win.’
    • ‘This takes care of up-and-down stress; another pair on top of the barrel and receiver handles fore-and-aft forces.’
    • ‘This is how the fore-and-aft motion of the pistons is converted into rotary motion to drive the locomotive along the track.’
    • ‘Threaded adjustable stops limiting the fore-and-aft movement of the column were located below the flr, and could be reached through the wheel well.’
    1. 1.1 (of a hat, especially one worn as part of a uniform) having three corners and a brim at the front and back.
      ‘we were in full dress, with fore-and-aft hats and swords’
    2. 1.2 (of a sail or rigging) set lengthwise, not on transverse yards.
      ‘a fore-and-aft-rigged yacht’
      • ‘A vessel can be rigged with only fore-and-aft sails, for example fore-and-aft schooners and ketches, but also square rigged vessels carry fore-and-aft sails in the form of staysails.’
      • ‘Also, the fore-and-aft sail on the mizzenmast, originally a triangular lateen sail, was changed to accommodate the more modern rig.’
      • ‘When furled, the square sails vanished inside the booms, although the 15 fore-and-aft sails were handled like any modern sail-boat's roller-furling jib.’
      • ‘She carries the traditional Great Lakes fore-and-aft schooner rig with its distinctive triangular ‘raffee’ sail on a foremast yardarm.’
      • ‘She had two masts and carried fore-and-aft auxiliary sails.’


Early 17th century: perhaps translating a phrase of Low German origin; compare with Dutch van voren en van achteren.