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Date: 1400-1500
Language: Old French
Origin: reregarde, from rere 'behind' (from Latin retro-) + garde 'guard'

rearguard

noun
     
rear‧guard
1

fight a rearguard action

a) to make a determined effort to prevent a change that you think is bad, although it seems too late to stop it:
They have been fighting a rearguard action to stop a supermarket being built on the land.
b) PM if an army fights a rearguard action, it defends itself at the back against an enemy that is chasing it
2 [singular] the group of soldiers who defend the back of an army against an enemy that is chasing it

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