from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • An unpaid, overdue debt or an unfulfilled obligation.
  • The state of being behind in fulfilling obligations: an account in arrears.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An unpaid or overdue obligation. A debt.
  • n. Plural form of arrear.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being behind in payments
  • n. an unpaid overdue debt


Middle English arrers, from arrere, behind, from Old French arere, from Vulgar Latin *ad retrō, backward : Latin ad, to; see ad- + Latin retrō, behind; see re- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • there was a persistent need to grapple with appeals from individuals who had fallen in arrears.

    September 14, 2010

  • No.

    August 20, 2008

  • c-b, does this word chafe your ass?

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