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rearguard

or rear-guard

[ reer-gahrd ]
/ ˈrɪərˌgɑrd /
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adjective

of or relating to a rear guard.
designed to oppose or prevent in a defensive way: a rearguard strategy.

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Origin of rearguard

First recorded in 1895–1900; attributive use of rear guard

Definition for rearguard (2 of 2)

rear guard

noun

a part of an army or military force detached from the main body to bring up and guard the rear from surprise attack, especially in a retreat.

Origin of rear guard

1475–85; <Anglo-French reregard,Old French rereguarde
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for rearguard

rearguard
/ (ˈrɪəˌɡɑːd) /

noun

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
C15: from Old French rereguarde (modern French arrière-garde), from rer, from Latin retro back + guarde guard; 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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