Definition of rearguard noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

rearguard

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈrɪəɡɑːd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈrɪrɡɑːrd//
 
(also the rearguard)[singular + singular or plural verb]
 
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a group of soldiers that protect the back part of an army especially when the army is retreating after it has been defeated opposite vanguard Word Origin late Middle English (denoting the rear part of an army): from Old French rereguarde.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rearguard

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