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or rear-guard

[reer-gahrd] /ˈrɪərˌgɑrd/
of or relating to a rear guard.
designed to oppose or prevent in a defensive way:
a rearguard strategy.
Origin of rearguard
First recorded in 1895-1900; attributive use of rear guard Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rearguard
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some of them who had been on duty in the rearguard had had no breakfast (it so happened).

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • There seemed to be no disposition to push this rearguard when we got up to Fairfield.

  • Three feet above was the flooring, and all the rearguard passing over.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • The rearguard went on; the guns arrived also at the ditch and the overtaxed bridge.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • But the whole operation proved no more than a rearguard action.

  • "He will stay with the rearguard," said the Emir to his lieutenant.

    A Desert Drama A. Conan Doyle
  • We are in,' said the man, as he drove into the rearguard and the camel knelt.

    The Light That Failed Rudyard Kipling
  • Then with sticks and staves they fell upon the rearguard and cudgelled them.

    Cheshire Charles E. Kelsey
British Dictionary definitions for rearguard


a detachment detailed to protect the rear of a military formation, esp in retreat
an entrenched or conservative element, as in a political party
rearguard action
  1. an action fought by a rearguard
  2. a defensive action undertaken to try to stop something happening or continuing
Word Origin
C15: from Old French rereguarde (modern French arrière-garde), from rer, from Latin retro back + guardeguard; compare vanguard
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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