Definition of rearguard action in English:

rearguard action


  • A defensive action carried out by a retreating army.

    ‘the troops remaining in the islands fought a bitter rearguard action’
    figurative ‘we're fighting a rearguard action against the newspapers here’
    • ‘That said it was all hands to the pump all the way for Newbridge, as they fought out a desperate rearguard action interrupted by sporadic breaks by Cleare and Carr and some excellent line kicking by Ahearne.’
    • ‘During the 1924 retreat from Chaouen to Tétouan in west Morocco, a disaster even greater than Anual, it fought a month-long rearguard action under Franco.’
    • ‘With City happy to put men behind the ball and fight a valiant rearguard action, the onus was on Scunthorpe to find a way through.’
    • ‘The announcement represented a victory for defence chiefs who fought a fierce rearguard action against any change of policy.’
    • ‘After the Glorious Revolution he was made a Jacobite duke, fought at the Boyne, carried on the rearguard action, and died in Limerick just before it was forced to capitulate.’
    • ‘These are probably people left over from the old regime who are simply fighting a rearguard action.’
    • ‘And all the time we seem to be fighting a rearguard action to stay in business and remain competitive with others who don't have to accept the same sort of system as we do.’
    • ‘Over the next 20 years Broughton fought a rearguard action in defence of his church, while at the same time he worked creatively to establish a new basis for its financial support and governance.’
    • ‘By the first week in January 1945, the German onslaught had been stopped and the Wehrmacht was fighting a desperate rearguard action.’
    • ‘The EU and US have betrayed their promises to reform trade rules to promote development and poor countries have had to fight a rearguard action simply to keep some of their issues on the table.’


rearguard action