EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN | IDIOMS plural noun the state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like: Many homeowners have fallen into arrears. Sometimes arrear. something overdue in payment; a debt that remains unpaid: Those countries that have paid their arrears may be granted additional loans. Idioms in arrears, behind or late, especially in payment: She was three months in arrears on her mortgage and credit card payments. Also , Chiefly Law in arrear. Origin of arrears 1300–50;
noun use of
(adv., now obsolete),
Middle English arere
Latin ad retrō.
retro- Related forms ar·rear·age, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for arrears Historical Examples of arrears British Dictionary definitions for arrears noun Also called: arrearage ( əˈrɪərɪdʒ) (sometimes singular) something outstanding or owed in arrears or in arrear late in paying a debt or meeting an obligation Word Origin for arrears
C18: from obsolete
arrear (adv) behindhand, from Old French arere, from Medieval Latin adretrō, from Latin ad to + retrō backwards
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for arrears n.
mid-14c., "in times past," from Old French
ariere "behind, backward," from Vulgar Latin *ad retro, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + retro "behind" (see retro-). Meaning "balance due" dates from early 15c.; phrase in arrears first recorded 1610s, but in arrearages is from late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with arrears
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.