rear

1
[ reer ]
/ rɪər /

noun

the back of something, as distinguished from the front: The porch is at the rear of the house.
the space or position behind something: The bus driver asked the passengers to move to the rear.
the buttocks; rump.
the hindmost portion of an army, fleet, etc.

adjective

pertaining to or situated at the rear of something: the rear door of a bus.

Idioms

    bring up the rear, to be at the end; follow behind: The army retreated, and the fleeing civilian population brought up the rear.

Origin of rear

1
First recorded in 1590–1600; aphetic variant of arrear

Synonym study

5. See back1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bring up the rear (1 of 2)

rear

1
/ (rɪə) /

noun


Word Origin for rear

C17: probably abstracted from rearward or rearguard

British Dictionary definitions for bring up the rear (2 of 2)

rear

2
/ (rɪə) /

verb


Derived Forms

rearer, noun

Word Origin for rear

Old English rǣran; related to Old High German rēren to distribute, Old Norse reisa to raise
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

Idioms and Phrases with bring up the rear (1 of 2)

bring up the rear

Be last in a line or sequence, as in As a slow walker, I'm used to bringing up the rear, or In test results Tom always brought up the rear. This term almost certainly came from the military but the earliest citation given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1643 religious treatise by Sir Thomas Browne: “My desires onely are . . . to be but the last man, and bring up the Rere in Heaven.”


Idioms and Phrases with bring up the rear (2 of 2)

rear

In addition to the idioms beginning with rear

  • rear end
  • rear its ugly head

also see:

  • bring up the rear

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.