There are 2 main definitions of rear in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

rear1

Syllabification: rear

noun

[in singular]
1The back part of something, especially a building or vehicle: the kitchen door at the rear of the house
More example sentences
  • Staff vehicles enter at the rear of the building by means of a ramp that leads down to a subterranean car park.
  • Stromness Fire Brigade were called out and extinguished the fire, which caused minor damage to the doors at the rear of the building.
  • One of the buildings at the rear of the main house dates from that time.
1.1The space or position at the back of something or someone: the field at the rear of the church
More example sentences
  • Land which was previously an area of open space at the rear of homes in Thresher Rise and Queenborough Lane in Great Notley, is set to be used to provide up to seven allotments.
  • Behind their bay windows are elegant drawing rooms and to the rear there is sufficient space to create generous kitchens and living areas.
  • A sculpture terrace in the rear completes the exhibition space.
1.2The hindmost part of an army, fleet, or line of people: two blue policemen at the rear fell out of the formation
More example sentences
  • German planners knew that Antwerp must be taken to safeguard the right rear of their armies swinging down into France, and initially allocated five reserve corps to the task.
  • The way to the rear of the Army of Northern Virginia was open.
  • A gap opened up between the Allied armies as Clark moved away from the decisive point - closing the rear of the German Army.
1.3 (also rear end) informal A person’s buttocks.
Example sentences
  • Now Macy's in New York is endorsing big bottoms by adding an extra 2.5in to their dummies' rears.
  • We're not getting off our rears and just walking places.
  • If our folks sit on their rears, the Republicans are better organized in Pennsylvania than they've ever been.

adjective

[attributive] Back to top  
At the back: the car’s rear window
More example sentences
  • The back end was completely crumpled and the rear window was shattered.
  • I live smack between two bridges, and I see them both from my rear windows - I can see them now.
  • One round went through my already shattered rear window; another whistled past my head.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English (first used as a military term): from Old French rere, based on Latin retro 'back'.

More
  • retro from [1960s]:

    The fashion term retro is from French rétro, an abbreviation of rétrograderetrograde’ (Late Middle English). This was originally a term in astronomy referring to planets appearing to move in a direction from east to west. It comes from Latin retrogradus, from retro ‘backwards’ and gradus ‘step’. Retro- is also the source of words such as retrospect (early 17th century) from Latin retrospicere ‘look back’ and rear ‘back part’. This was first used as a military term from French arrière ‘behind’, which came from retro. The phrase th'arrear ‘the back’ was mis-analysed as ‘the rear’ and the ‘a’ at the beginning of the word dropped. It was used colloquially to mean ‘buttocks’ from the late 18th century. The other rear,’ to raise up’ and its close relative rise, both Old English, come from an Germanic root, with raise, a Middle English introduction from Old Norse coming from the same source.

Phrases

bring up the rear

1
Be at the very end of a line of people.
Example sentences
  • The cops cleared the streets in front and brought up the rear, but along the whole enormous length of the demo there wasn't a cop in sight (other than the usual vanloads down side streets).
  • I brought up the rear as the cloaked man in front of me made his way towards them.
  • A lone, central defenseman protects the front of the net for his goalie and brings up the rear on the offensive attack.
1.1Come last in a race or other contest.
Example sentences
  • It's well-known that, in the status race, mothers bring up the rear, ranking equally with the disabled and the elderly.
  • Solis said he felt confident in his mount, in spite of bringing up the rear through much of the race.
  • The Defence Minister was gunning for third and the Sports Minister brought up the rear.

Share this entry

Share this page

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of rear in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

rear2

Syllabification: rear

verb

1 [with object] (usually be reared) Bring up and care for (a child) until they are fully grown, especially in a particular manner or place: he was born and reared in New York City a generation reared on video
More example sentences
  • She felt her baby had a better chance with new parents better equipped to rear her child.
  • This means that the original enslaver was not concerned with the ‘cost of production’ - the cost of rearing a child until it was old enough to be sold into the trade.
  • Jackson used the exercise to demonstrate the challenges parents face in rearing children.
Synonyms
bring up, raise, care for, look after, nurture, parent;
educate
1.1(Of an animal) care for (its young) until they are fully grown.
Example sentences
  • Animals that rear their young might educate their young in survival abilities.
  • Some tropical bird species rear their young near wasp nests and depend on the insects to repel predators.
  • Calendar buyers will learn that it is the third time in 150 years that wild osprey have nested and reared young at Bassenthwaite Lake.
1.2Breed and raise (animals): the calves are reared for beef
More example sentences
  • The firm rears chickens from just days old and processes them through to cooked finished products.
  • These larvae were reared separately until eclosion and both classes were viable.
  • The scientists from the University of California at San Francisco reared young rats in an environment of moderate continuous noise.
Synonyms
1.3Grow or cultivate (plants): [as adjective, in combination]: (-reared) laboratory-reared plantlets
More example sentences
  • My freedom to roam at will conflicts with the farmer's need to make a living and to rear the crops and livestock we all need to exist.
  • Stocks of all three species were reared on banana medium at 18°.
  • Customers are given necessary advice on how to rear the plant, Mr Joseph says.
Synonyms
2 [no object] (Of a horse or other animal) raise itself upright on its hind legs: the horse reared in terror a rattlesnake reared up at his elbow
More example sentences
  • The colt reared and began galloping when other horses breezed past him.
  • Some horses that rear will only lift their front feet off the ground a short distance and only do it at certain times when they are overexcited or keen to move forward.
  • Unused to such harsh treatment, the horse reared back on its hind legs, unseating Jack Foster who landed with a thud on his backside.
2.1 [with adverbial of place] (Of a building, mountain, etc.) extend or appear to extend to a great height: houses reared up on either side
More example sentences
  • Beyond it, the Cumbrian mountains rear, an impenetrable barrier.
  • The mountains now rear before us like terrestrial tsunamis - snow-peaked surf in five-thousand metre sets.
  • Lahore station rears out of the surrounding anarchy like a liner out of the ocean.
Synonyms
rise, rise up, tower, soar, loom
2.2 (rear up) (Of a person) show anger or irritation; go on the attack: the press reared up in the wake of the bombings
More example sentences
  • A small flare of obstinate anger reared up in her.
  • The campaign did what any front-running effort does when the Hitler issue rears up.
  • Someone should slap me but I think it's minor retribution for her unnecessarily autocratic, bossy tendencies that once again reared up yesterday.
2.3 [with object] archaic Set (something) upright.

Origin

Old English rǣran 'set upright, construct, elevate', of Germanic origin; related to raise (which has supplanted rear in many applications), also to rise.

More
  • retro from [1960s]:

    The fashion term retro is from French rétro, an abbreviation of rétrograderetrograde’ (Late Middle English). This was originally a term in astronomy referring to planets appearing to move in a direction from east to west. It comes from Latin retrogradus, from retro ‘backwards’ and gradus ‘step’. Retro- is also the source of words such as retrospect (early 17th century) from Latin retrospicere ‘look back’ and rear ‘back part’. This was first used as a military term from French arrière ‘behind’, which came from retro. The phrase th'arrear ‘the back’ was mis-analysed as ‘the rear’ and the ‘a’ at the beginning of the word dropped. It was used colloquially to mean ‘buttocks’ from the late 18th century. The other rear,’ to raise up’ and its close relative rise, both Old English, come from an Germanic root, with raise, a Middle English introduction from Old Norse coming from the same source.

Phrases

rear one's head

1
Raise one’s head.
Example sentences
  • But just when I think so, yet another Craig Wilson rears his head.
  • Just when I'm least expecting it, she rears her head.
  • Smiling a toothy grin, he put his hands to his temples, his index fingers extended, and reared his head.
Synonyms
raise, lift (up), hold up, uplift
(rear its head)1.1 (Of an unpleasant matter) emerge; present itself: elitism is rearing its ugly head again
More example sentences
  • It certainly reared its head in the past and it rears its head in the present time as well.
  • This matter has just reared its head in the election campaign.
  • And now, another base-line issue rears its head.

Derivatives

rearer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • All over the country today there is growing resistance by poor livestock rearers to ‘regeneration programmes ‘that are forcing them off the land and forcing them out of their livelihood.’
  • As all mums will vouch, having children fills you with paranoia - in my experience men are more laid-back child rearers.
  • And the men who complain about women having ‘choices’ always forget that we are also the childbearers and rearers.

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.