rear-guard

rear guard

noun
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:
1475–85; < Anglo-French reregard, Old French rereguarde

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rearguard

[reer-gahrd]
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to a rear guard.
2.
designed to oppose or prevent in a defensive way: a rearguard strategy.
Also, rear-guard.


Origin:
1895–1900; attributive use of rear guard

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rearguard (ˈrɪəˌɡɑːd)
 
n
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
 a.  an action fought by a rearguard
 b.  a defensive action undertaken to try to stop something happening or continuing
 
[C15: from Old French rereguarde (modern French arrière-garde), from rer, from Latin retro back + guardeguard; compare vanguard]

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