1300–50; noun use of arrear (adv., now obsolete), Middle English arere behind < Middle French ≪ Latin ad retrō. See ad-, retro- (Source: dictionary.com)
Middle English (first used in the phrase in arrear): from arrear (adverb) ‘behind, overdue’, from Old French arere, from medieval Latin adretro, from ad- ‘towards’ + retro ‘backwards’. (Source: lexico.com)
Definitions of Arrears
the state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like:
Sometimes arrear. something overdue in payment; a debt that remains unpaid: Those countries that have paid their arrears may be granted additional loans.
Also called: arrearage (əˈrɪərɪdʒ) (sometimes singular) something outstanding or owed
in arrears or in arrear late in paying a debt or meeting an obligation
Money that is owed and should have been paid earlier.
: the state of being behind in the discharge of obligations —usually used in pluralThey were in arrears with the rent. [=they had failed to pay the rent when it was due]
: an unfinished duty —usually used in pluralarrears of work that have piled up
: an unpaid and overdue debt —usually used in pluralpaying off the arrears of the past several months
Example sentences for Arrears
Miss Peasey's wages were in arrears, and he must pay her £4 10s.
Sailors were clamouring for their arrears of pay on the very steps of the ducal palace.
They are not in arrears, and you may consequently guess at the wretched state of their moral feelings.
In some cases, large sums were granted as arrears due on the basis of the new rate.
At the same time he was relieved from the payment of the tribute, then four years in arrears, owing to his distressed condition.