- rear (n.)
- "hindmost part," c.1600, abstracted from rerewarde "rear guard" (c.1300), from Anglo-French rerewarde, Old French rieregarde, from Old French riere (from Latin retro "back, behind") + Old French garde (see guard). Or the word may be a shortened form of arrear (see arrears).
Military sense of "hindmost part" of an army or fleet is recorded from c.1600. As a euphemism for "buttocks" it is attested from 1796 (rear end in this sense recorded from 1937). Rear admiral is first attested 1580s, apparently so called from ranking "behind" an admiral proper. Rear-view (mirror) is recorded from 1926.
- rear (v.)
- Old English ræran "to raise, build up, set on end," from Proto-Germanic *raizijanau "to raise," causative of *risanan "to rise" (see raise). Meaning "bring into being, bring up" (as a child) is recorded from early 15c.; that of "raise up on the hind legs" is first recorded late 14c. Related: Reared; rearing.