Definition of rearguard in English:

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rearguard

Pronunciation: /ˈrirˌɡärd/

noun

1The soldiers positioned at the rear of a body of troops, especially those protecting an army when it is in retreat.
Example sentences
  • It is commonly used by troops intending to hold a position against an advancing enemy, by rearguards covering a retreat, or by advanced parties while they wait to be reinforced.
  • The success of the long retreat and the rearguard engagements in 1944 and 1945 came despite, rather than because of, Hitler.
  • The East was bringing the battle to the South, leaving only a few soldiers as a rearguard at the palace.
1.1A defensive or conservative element in an organization or community.
Example sentences
  • I hope to convince readers that this is not simply a nostalgic reactionary's rearguard defence of a bygone era but a highly desirable way of meeting the needs of many patients today.
  • It retreated and maintained a hold over rearguard elements.
  • Rambling and canoeing organisations have now launched a fierce rearguard fight against British Waterways, which they say is guilty of scaremongering, and are arguing the case for a Scottish Waterways organisation to be set up.

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting the rear part of an army): from Old French rereguarde.

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