REAR, the back or hind portion of anything, particularly a military or naval term for that part of a force which is placed last in order, in opposition to "van." As the last word, shortened from "van-guard," is an aphetic form of Fr. avant, in front, Lat. ab ante, so "rear" is an aphetic form of "arrear," O. Fr. arere, mod. arriere, Med. Lat. ad retro, to the back, backward. From this word must be distinguished the verb "to rear," used in two main senses: of a horse, to stand up on its hind legs, and to raise up or lift, of the construction of a building or of the breeding and bringing to maturity of domestic or other animals, often used also of young children. The O.E. reran, of which it is the modern representative, is a doublet of the Scandinavian reisa, which has given English "raise," both being causative verb forms of "rise."
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