General English

  • noun the part at the back
  • verb to look after animals or children as they are growing up
  • verb to rise up, or to lift something up


  • verb to look after young animals until they are old enough to look after themselves


  • noun the aft part, the part furthest from the front


  • verb (of the ball) to rise very steeply from the pitch after bouncing, often from a good length
    Citation ‘The next two balls reared off the sluggish wicket and, while Jones managed to survive, mark Taylor was caught in the crossfire’ (Australian Cricket October 1993)


  • adjective moving or located at the back of a formation or position
  • adjective located behind the forward positions
  • noun an area behind the front line
  • noun
    (written as Rear)
    rear headquarters

Origin & History of “rear”

there are two separate words rear in English. The older, ‘raise’ (OE), is a descendant of prehistoric Germanic *raizjan, which also produced Old Norse reisa, source of English raise. The Germanic verb denoted literally ‘cause to rise’, and was derived from *reisan, which evolved into English rise. Rear ‘hind’ (16th c.) is descended ultimately from Latin retrō- ‘behind’, but it is not clear whether it came into the language as an abbreviation of arrear (18th c.), which goes back via Old French arere to medieval Latin adretrō ‘to the rear’ (the Anglo-Norman noun areres existed in the 14th century, so the chronological disparity may not be crucial), or was extracted from rearguard (15th c.), a borrowing from Old French rereguarde.