Definition of rearguard
: of or relating to resistance especially to sweeping social forces <fought a rearguard action against automation>
Examples of rearguard in a sentence
The army fought a courageous rearguard action.
Did You Know?
As a noun, rearguard refers to the soldiers that are stationed at the rear of a body to protect it from attack especially during retreat. (The troops at the front are called the vanguard.) A rearguard action, then, is the defensive or delaying fight waged as resistance against the encroaching enemy. It is through figurative extension that the phrase rearguard action, and consequently rearguard as an adjective, has become applied to other means of indirect resistance, often by a small force against a more powerful one.
First Known Use of rearguard
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