[ reer ]
/ rɪər /


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.


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

Nearby words

  1. reappoint,
  2. reapportion,
  3. reapportionment,
  4. reappraisal,
  5. reappraise,
  6. rear adm.,
  7. rear admiral,
  8. rear deck,
  9. rear echelon,
  10. rear end


    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

First recorded in 1590–1600; aphetic variant of arrear

Synonym study

5. See back1.


[ reer ]
/ rɪər /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Origin of rear

before 900; Middle English reren, Old English rǣran to raise; cognate with Gothic -raisjan, Old Norse reisa

Related formsun·reared, adjectivewell-reared, adjective

Usage note

1. See raise. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rear

British Dictionary definitions for rear


/ (rɪə) /


Word Origin for rear

C17: probably abstracted from rearward or rearguard


Derived Formsrearer, 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

Word Origin and History for rear
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with 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.