Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Origin: arrear 'backward, behind' (14-18 centuries), from Old French arere, from Vulgar Latin ad retro 'to the back'

arrears

noun
     
ar‧rears [plural]
1

be in arrears

if someone is in arrears, or if their payments are in arrears, they are late in paying something that they should pay regularly, such as rent:
Many people are in arrears with their rent.
be four weeks/three months etc in arrears
The rent money is two months in arrears.
fall/get into arrears (=become late with payments)
2 money that you owe someone because you have not made regular payments at the correct time:
We've got 3 months arrears to pay.
rent/mortgage/tax arrears
He was ordered to pay rent arrears of £550.
3

paid in arrears

British EnglishBEW if your salary is paid in arrears, it is paid at the end of the period you have worked:
a salary paid monthly in arrears

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary