Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Work to be done, obligation.
  • n. Unpaid debt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. To or in the rear; behind; backwards.
  • 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, .

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See arear.
  • Backward; into or toward the rear; back; behind.
  • n. The state of being behind or behindhand: as, his work is in arrear.
  • n. The rear.
  • n. That which is behind in payment; a debt which remains unpaid, though due: generally used in the plural and implying that a part of the money is already paid: as, arrears of rent, wages, or taxes.

Etymologies

From Old French arere, ariere, from Vulgar Latin ad retro ("to the rear"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Fiction is always far in arrear of popular opinion, but there are a few romancers who are coming abreast of the times in portraiture.

    Stylish Stouts

  • Fortunately – for we were nine months in arrear of pay – money was so scarce that a trifle of ready money produced a great deal.

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B.

  • I transfer the civil government without a single particle of business in arrear, and with a treasury without a debt, while all the civil officers have worked under me with energy and zeal.

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B.

  • Those workmen of mine, who are your tenants – I am aware what usually results when tenants in arrear vote against their landlords – if, without taking any harsher measures, your agent will be so kind as to apply to me for the rent –

    John Halifax, Gentleman

  • The state of the poll still worse; Lord Beaufort twelve in arrear, and Colonel Beaufort twenty-one.

    The Semi-Attached Couple

  • Very true; a half-daily paper leaves one several hours in arrear.

    A Dialogue for the Year 2130

  • Moctador* was Caliph, he sent to the same Prince David, to know why the dirhems were not brought up, and David immediately called to horse, and, attended by all the chief people, rode to the palace, and told the Caliph that tribute was an acknowledgment made from the weak to the strong to insure protection and support; and, inasmuch as he and his people had garrisoned the city for ten years against the Seljuks, he held the Caliph in arrear.

    Chapter 1 - Part I

  • The first informs us, that there has been a recovery of what is called arrear, as well as of an improvement of the revenue of one of the six provinces which were let in 1782. [

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 03 (of 12)

  • Grafton's compliments to Mr. Bloomfield, & is glad to have been reminded by him of the arrear of the annual allowance, which he has by this post, directed Messrs. Drummonds, in Charing Cross, to pay, in full, to Mr

    Letter 308

  • Our civil list, formed upon plans of strictest economy, after having been many years in arrear, is now regularly paid off, and the departments in consequence of it filled with men of integrity and ability.

    Robert Morris

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