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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
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."
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