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Word of the Day
Monday, July 18, 2016

Definitions for arrears

  1. 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.
  2. Sometimes, arrear. something overdue in payment; a debt that remains unpaid: Those countries that have paid their arrears may be granted additional loans.
  3. 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.

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Citations for arrears
This was his system with his tenants: he allowed them to get into arrears, neglect their fences, reduce their stock, sell their straw, and otherwise go the wrong way,--and then, when he became short of money in consequence of this indulgence, he took the hardest measures and would listen to no appeal. George Eliot, Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, 1861
He might need Alma to write a threatening letter to a borrower who had fallen into arrears. ("Tell him that he must commence paying me back within the fortnight or I will see to it that his children spend the remainder of their lives in a workhouse," Henry would dictate, while Alma would write, "Dear Sir: With greatest respect, I ask that you bestir yourself to attend this debt ...") Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things, 2013
Origin of arrears
1300-1350
Arrears can ultimately be traced to the Latin term ad retrō, with ad- meaning "toward" and indicating direction, tendency, or addition, and retrō meaning "behind."