from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The state of being behind in the fulfillment of obligations or of being overdue in payment.
  • noun A payment owed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state or condition of being behindhand or in arrears.
  • noun Arrears; amount or amounts outstanding or overdue; any sum of money remaining unpaid after previous payment of a part.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which remains unpaid and overdue, after payment of a part; arrears.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A condition of being in arrears.
  • noun An item that is in arrears, as periodic payments on a debt or for taxes.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French arierage ("detriment, legal prejudice")


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  • So in short time, thou art in arrearage grown

    Some hundred quarrels, yet dost thou fight none ;

    Nor need'st thou : for those few, by oath releast,

    Make good what thou dar'st do in all the rest.

    Keep thy self there, and think thy valor right ;

    He that dares damn himself, dares more than fight.

    - Ben Jonson, 'To Brainhardy'.

    July 28, 2009