- the back of something, as distinguished from the front: The porch is at the rear of the house.
- the space or position behind something: The bus driver asked the passengers to move to the rear.
- the buttocks; rump.
- the hindmost portion of an army, fleet, etc.
- pertaining to or situated at the rear of something: the rear door of a bus.
- bring up the rear, to be at the end; follow behind: The army retreated, and the fleeing civilian population brought up the rear.
verb (used with object)
- to take care of and support up to maturity: to rear a child.
- to breed and raise (livestock).
- to raise by building; erect.
- to raise to an upright position: to rear a ladder.
- to lift or hold up; elevate; raise.
verb (used without object)
- to rise on the hind legs, as a horse or other animal.
- (of a person) to start up in angry excitement, hot resentment, or the like (usually followed by up).
- to rise high or tower aloft: The skyscraper rears high over the neighboring buildings.
- rear its (ugly) head. head(def 85).
- the back or hind part
- the area or position that lies at the backa garden at the rear of the house
- the section of a military force or procession farthest from the front
- the buttocksSee buttock
- bring up the rear to be at the back in a procession, race, etc
- in the rear at the back
- (modifier) of or in the rearthe rear legs; the rear side
- (tr) to care for and educate (children) until maturity; bring up; raise
- (tr) to breed (animals) or grow (plants)
- (tr) to place or lift (a ladder, etc) upright
- (tr) to erect (a monument, building, etc); put up
- (intr often foll by up) (esp of horses) to lift the front legs in the air and stand nearly upright
- (intr ; often foll by up or over) (esp of tall buildings) to rise high; tower
- (intr) to start with anger, resentment, etc
“hindmost part,” c.1600, abstracted from rerewarde “rear guard, hindmost part of an army or fleet” (mid-14c.), from Anglo-French rerewarde, Old French rieregarde, from Old French adverb riere “behind” (from Latin retro “back, behind;” see retro-) + Old French garde (see guard (n.)). Or the word may be a shortened form of arrear (see arrears).
As a euphemism for “buttocks” it is attested from 1796. Rear admiral is first attested 1580s, apparently so called from ranking “behind” an admiral proper. Rear-view (mirror) is recorded from 1926.
Old English ræran “to raise, build up, create, set on end; arouse, excite, stir up,” from Proto-Germanic *raizijanau “to raise,” causative of *risanan “to rise” (see raise (v.)). Meaning “bring into being, bring up” (as a child) is recorded from early 15c.; that of “raise up on the hind legs” is first recorded late 14c. Related: Reared; rearing.
c.1300, from Old French rere (see rear (n.)).
“attack in the rear,” 17c., from rear (n.).
In addition to the idioms beginning with rear
- rear end
- rear its ugly head
- bring up the rear