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rear guard

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
1475-85; < Anglo-French reregard, Old French rereguarde Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rear guard
  • The capelin rear guard, sensing danger, rose off the bottom in a great fleeing cloud.
  • The lieutenant with the rear guard concluded the train.
  • These forklifts did not have a protective rear guard or corner post to prevent under-ride from occurring.
  • Marion followed and destroyed the rear guard as they attempted to cross the river.
  • The marines formed the rear guard of the retreat, in which they were pursued for four hours.

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