I have been often intrigued by the phrase "back-to-back". Referring to "back" is reminiscent of the rear of the human body.

I usually hear-

  • back-to-back meetings

I see and use the phrase often as an American, and this cursory search of a UK news source shows it's common there too:


It's common in both dialects and I've never thought of it as anatomical.

  • 1
    The usage originated in the US according to the Oxford Dictionary but they also register in British English in examples such as back-to-back semi-finals. (word-detective.com/2010/03/back-to-back) – Misti Jan 23 '15 at 17:18
  • The phrase has always made me picture two people standing, er, back-to-back. – Hot Licks Jan 23 '15 at 17:42
  • Me too @Hot Licks, which is why I deprecate the ungodly phrase back-to-back-to-back. – pazzo Jan 23 '15 at 19:57

Americans certainly use back-to-back in reference to simple physical arrangements such as back-to-back seats in a railway car.

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