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all fours

all four limbs or extremities; the four legs or feet of an animal or both arms and both legs or both hands and both feet of a person:
The cat rolled off the ledge but landed on all fours.
(used with a singular verb). Also called high-low-jack, old sledge, pitch, seven-up. Cards. a game for two or three players or two partnerships in which a 52-card pack is used, the object being to win special scoring values for the highest trump, the lowest trump, the jack, the ace, the ten, and the face cards.
on all fours,
  1. in conformity with; corresponding exactly with.
  2. (of a person) on the hands and feet, or the hands and knees:
    I had to go on all fours to squeeze through the low opening.
Origin of all fours
1555-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for all-fours
Historical Examples
  • Crouching on all-fours, he peered below the cloud of smoke toward the crest of the hill where the battery was.

    Memories Fannie A. (Mrs.) Beers
  • Before they could do so, however, the bear dropped back on all-fours.

    Bruin Mayne Reid
  • He picked them up, getting down on all-fours so as not to miss one.

    The Winning Clue James Hay, Jr.
  • The start was begun again—this time cautiously and on all-fours.

    A Dog with a Bad Name Talbot Baines Reed
  • Pretty soon she met a little brown Gnome, running along on all-fours, and turning somersaults, as all Gnomes do.

  • Claude entertained an idea of making him pose on all-fours in future.

  • Then he advanced again on all-fours; and so by slow degrees he worked himself up to the spot at which he aimed.

    A Voyage round the World W.H.G. Kingston
  • In the evenings he would sit and smoke a pipe, or play “all-fours.”

  • Food would be laid down before them and kneeling, or on all-fours like dogs, they had to pick it up with their teeth.

    The Long White Cloud William Pember Reeves
  • Now this is quite on all-fours with the question of miracles.

    A Grammar of Freethought Chapman Cohen
British Dictionary definitions for all-fours

all fours

both the arms and legs of a person or all the legs of a quadruped (esp in the phrase on all fours)
another name for seven-up
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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