Definition of rearguard
: 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
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
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).