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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Arrear \Ar*rear"\, adv. [OE. arere, OF. arere, ariere, F. arri[`e]re, fr. L. ad + retro backward. See Rear.] To or in the rear; behind; backwards. [Obs.]


Arrear \Ar*rear"\, n. That which is behind in payment, or which remains unpaid, though due; esp. a remainder, or balance which remains due when some part has been paid; arrearage; -- commonly used in the plural, as, arrears of rent, wages, or taxes.

For much I dread due payment by the Greeks Of yesterday's arrear.

I have a large arrear of letters to write.
--J. D. Forbes.

In arrear or In arrears, behind; backward; behindhand; in debt.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, "at a disadvantage;" mid-14c., "in times past;" late 14c., "in or to the rear;" see arrears. Meaning "behind in duties or payments" is from 1620s.


adv. 1 (context obsolete English) Towards the rear, backwards. (14th-16th c.) 2 (context obsolete English) Behind time; overdue. (15th-19th c.) n. 1 Work to be done, obligation. 2 Unpaid debt.


Usage examples of "arrear".

She had arrears of dinner to make up, and it was touching that in a dinnerless state her moral passion should have burned so clear.

II When through hot fog the fulgid sun looks down Upon a stagnant earth where listless men Laboriously dawdle, curse, and sweat, Disqualified, unsatisfied, inert, -- It seems to me somehow that God himself Scans with a close reproach what I have done, Counts with an unphrased patience my arrears, And fathoms my unprofitable thoughts.

There came a Saturday when Jimmy, jobless and fundless, dreaded his return to the Indiana Avenue rooming-house, where he knew the landlady would be eagerly awaiting him, for he was a week in arrears in his room rent already, and had been warned he could expect no further credit.

There could be no chance of overtaking Mr Kyd, whose correspondent was so culpably in arrears.

After complaining of the arrears due to the army, they there desired the parliament to reflect how many years they had sitten, and what professions they had formerly made of their intentions to new model the representative, and establish successive parliaments, who might bear the burden of national affairs, from which they themselves would gladly, after so much danger and fatigue, be at last relieved.

Hence arose immense arrears in the expenditure, and the necessity of appointing a committee of liquidation.

He was sure, in this matter at least, of the support of the lay baronage, who had long arrears of jealousy to make up against their hereditary opponents the clergy, and who were not likely now to forget that no party in the Church had ever made common cause with the feudal lords.

Money was my dominating preoccupation, for a month after the events at Hougham I was three weeks in arrears of rent to Mrs Quaintance and was now penniless.

Although the point has been debated, at least one leading recusant, Sir Thomas Tresham, was charged with paying arrears.

Then, too, the Ayuntamiento was always in arrears in paying us our monthly stipend, a sum considerably reduced from what they had originally promised.

Nevada decree obtained by a husband, New York was held not to have denied full faith and credit to said decree when, subsequently thereto, it granted the wife a judgment for arrears in alimony founded upon a decree of separation previously awarded to her when both she and her husband were domiciled in New York.

Laird was beginning to settle his affairs, every tenant was called up for his arrears, and my gudesire for the full sum that stood against him in the rental-book.

Europeans and natives alike took part in the ceremonies and rejoicings, which embraced banquets, plays, reviews, illuminations, the distribution of honors, the opening in honor of the empress of libraries, colleges and hospitals, and at Gwalior the cancelling of the arrears of the land-tax amounting to five million dollars.

The first Orientalist congress was organized and held in Paris in 1873, and almost from the outset it was evident to other scholars that the Semiticists and Islamicists were in intellectual arrears, generally speaking.

What mattered was what they would do to him if he got into arrears, and so after he had allowed a decent interval to pass pretending to listen very carefully to all this crap about interest rates, he inquired, in an offhanded way, like it was an afterthought, about their collection policy.