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the state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like:
Many homeowners have fallen into arrears.
Sometimes, arrear. something overdue in payment; a debt that remains unpaid:
Those countries that have paid their arrears may be granted additional loans.
in arrears, behind or late, especially in payment:
She was three months in arrears on her mortgage and credit card payments.
Also, Chiefly Law, in arrear.
Historical Examples

He remitted all arrears of taxes, the collection of which was for the future placed in the hands of the local officials.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 17, Slice 4 Various

To arrive at these conclusions put him five minutes in arrears.
The Flaw in the Sapphire Charles M. Snyder

They had become involved in the Miller suit and fell into arrears.
The Last Laird of MacNab Various

But he had other reasons: he was in arrears to his bookseller, his tailor, and other tradesmen.
The Poetical Works of William Collins William Collins

The whole amount of arrears to the beginning of the present year, is about ten thousand louis d’ors.
Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson

He may claim all arrears of rent; and if so, we are more than beggars.
The Settlers in Canada Frederick Marryat

He augmented their pay; though the public necessities sometimes obliged him to run in arrears to them.
The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part E. David Hume

At the same time he was relieved from the payment of the tribute, then four years in arrears, owing to his distressed condition.
John Eliot’s First Indian Teacher and Interpreter Cockenoe-de-Long Island and The Story of His Career from the Early Records William Wallace Tooker

See that you have our wages ready for Friday, and all the arrears, too!
The Imported Bridegroom Abraham Cahan

“The sacks, into which Mena’s arrears flow seem to be empty,” laughed the cook.
Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers

(sometimes sing) Also called arrearage (əˈrɪərɪdʒ). something outstanding or owed
in arrears, in arrear, late in paying a debt or meeting an obligation

mid-14c., “in times past,” from Old French ariere “behind, backward,” from Vulgar Latin *ad retro, from Latin ad “to” (see ad-) + retro “behind” (see retro-). Meaning “balance due” dates from early 15c.; phrase in arrears first recorded 1610s, but in arrearages is from late 14c.
see: in arrears


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