rearguard

play
adjective rear·guard \ˈrir-ˌgärd\

Definition of rearguard

  1. :  of or relating to resistance especially to sweeping social forces fought a rearguard action against automation

rearguard was our Word of the Day on 03/20/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of rearguard in a sentence

  1. 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.

1898

First Known Use of rearguard

1898

Learn More about rearguard


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up rearguard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ