- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rearguard
These would be setbacks, but they would also be rearguard actions that wouldn't hold for long.The New Abortion Poll and Obama's Biggest Impact
January 22, 2013
A rearguard action by a determined minority may hold back the tide of history for a while.How Straight Marriage’s Evolution Led to Obama’s Gay-Marriage Endorsement
May 14, 2012
Some of them who had been on duty in the rearguard had had no breakfast (it so happened).Anabasis
There seemed to be no disposition to push this rearguard when we got up to Fairfield.Three Years in the Federal Cavalry
Three feet above was the flooring, and all the rearguard passing over.
The rearguard went on; the guns arrived also at the ditch and the overtaxed bridge.
But the whole operation proved no more than a rearguard action.Greener Than You Think
- 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
- an action fought by a rearguard
- 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