Definition of rearguard in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɪəɡɑːd/


1The soldiers at the rear of a body of troops, especially those protecting a retreating army: the firing from our rearguard had stopped
More 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 reactionary or conservative element in an organization or community: the academies acted as powerful guardians of the rearguard
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  • 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.
1.2(In team sports) a defending player or players: he ran hard at the Scottish rearguard
More example sentences
  • The Bulgarian may not be every fans' favourite, but his willingness to chase, harass, and generally do the dirty work was obvious in the first half and gave greater protection to the Charlton rearguard.
  • Allowing the tiny twosome to wreak havoc is the Brazilian midfield minder, prone to fisticuffs and protective of the rearguard.
  • Winger Michael Blackwood used his pace on the left to aggravate the Reds' defence, but Jonathan Smith's return to the heart of the rearguard gave them aerial protection.


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

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Line breaks: rear|guard

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