ar·​rear | \ ə-ˈrir How to pronounce arrear (audio) \

Definition of arrear

1 : the state of being behind in the discharge of obligations usually used in plural They were in arrears with the rent. [=they had failed to pay the rent when it was due]
2a : an unfinished duty usually used in plural arrears of work that have piled up
b : an unpaid and overdue debt usually used in plural paying off the arrears of the past several months

Examples of arrear in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

His 14,748 career rushing yards are fourth in NFL history, 521 yards arrears of Barry Sanders. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Ageless Frank Gore bound for Buffalo and 15th NFL season, but intends to retire a 49er," 8 July 2019 The country also needs foreign assistance, but the IMF has said a financial program will only be possible if Zimbabwe clears its arrears with international institutions -- such as the fund’s sister organization the World Bank -- and other creditors., "Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Ready to Scrap Mugabe Policies, Officials Say," 6 Mar. 2018 The 25-year-old Texan bumbled his way to a 76 that put him four shots in arrears of winner Francisco Molinari, who certainly played well enough to win but benefited mightily from Spieth’s collapse. Paul Newberry, The Seattle Times, "Masters: What’s wrong with Jordan Spieth?," 11 Apr. 2019 The central bank’s governor, John Mangudya, in an interview at his gated mansion outside Harare, said the government might borrow money from commercial banks to pay off some of the arrears and unlock assistance from development banks for the rest. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Looming Election Is Vital for Zimbabwe," 15 June 2018 The head of the bank said in September that the dictatorships in Havana and Caracas have outstanding loans of $1 billion and both are in arrears. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Bolsonaro’s Hope and Change," 29 Oct. 2018 Did the countries in arrears count toward a quorum? New York Times, "In a Chemical Weapons Debate, Russia Tries to Change the Subject," 26 June 2018 Connie Jones was in arrears for tens of thousands of dollars. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Scottsdale shooting suspect left divorce full of discord, YouTube channel full of grudges," 4 June 2018 At the end of 2016, the state was reckoned to be almost €33bn in arrears. The Economist, "A bizarre new government takes shape in Italy," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arrear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arrear

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arrear

Middle English arrere behind, backward, from Anglo-French arere, from Vulgar Latin *ad retro backward, from Latin ad to + retro backward, behind — more at at, retro-

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Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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The first known use of arrear was in 1586

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ar·​rear | \ ə-ˈrir How to pronounce arrear (audio) \

Legal Definition of arrear

1a : the condition of being behind in one's duties or especially financial obligations usually used in pl. in arrears with the rent
b : the condition of being due at the end of a term rather than the beginning usually used in pl. mortgage payments are made in arrears
2 : an unpaid and overdue debt usually used in pl. paying off the arrears of the previous owners

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arrear

Spanish Central: Translation of arrear

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to complain fretfully

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