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rear guard

noun
1.
a part of an army or military force detached from the main body to bring up and guard the rear from surprise attack, especially in a retreat.
Origin of rear guard
1475-1485
1475-85; < Anglo-French reregard, Old French rereguarde

rearguard

[reer-gahrd] /ˈrɪərˌgɑrd/
adjective
1.
of or relating to a rear guard.
2.
designed to oppose or prevent in a defensive way:
a rearguard strategy.
Origin
1895-1900; attributive use of rear guard
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for rear guard

rearguard

/ˈrɪəˌɡɑːd/
noun
1.
a detachment detailed to protect the rear of a military formation, esp in retreat
2.
an entrenched or conservative element, as in a political party
3.
rearguard action
  1. an action fought by a rearguard
  2. a defensive action undertaken to try to stop something happening or continuing
Word Origin
C15: from Old French rereguarde (modern French arrière-garde), from rer, from Latin retro back + guardeguard; compare vanguard
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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4
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