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(used before a noun) Very irritating, aggravating, or obnoxious. I've still got a few pain-in-the-rear jobs to do around the ranch before I can call it quits for the day. We're having Mary over for dinner tomorrow night. I just hope her pain-in-the-rear husband doesn't come along as well.
pain in the rear
An especially irritating, aggravating, or obnoxious person, thing, or situation. You know, Jack, you may be my friend, but you can be a real pain in the rear sometimes! This calculus homework is a real pain in the rear. It's not that I don't understand it, it's just so tedious!
pain in the ass
rude slang A person or thing that is extremely annoying or inconvenient. I know I need to renew my license, but dealing with the lines at the DMV is such a pain in the ass.
at the rear of
At the back of something. Can you see my father? He's sitting at the rear of the train car. Those boxes should be at the rear of the attic.
bring up the rear
To move last in a group of people. You guys go first—I'll bring up the rear. We need one adult to lead the kids, and another to bring up the rear.
rear its (ugly) head
Of a difficult, unpleasant problem, to present itself and force people to deal with it. Fundamentalist extremism has been rearing its head all around the world over the last couple years. I can't believe tax day is already rearing its ugly head again.
1. noun Literally, the rear-most part of something. There is a dining car at the rear end of the train.
2. noun By extension, a euphemism for the buttocks. Does my rear end look big in these pants?
3. verb To hit another car from behind with one's own. Usually hyphenated. The other driver was definitely at fault—I was just sitting at a red light when he rear-ended me!
be bringing up the rear
To be moving last in a group of people. I was so tired at the end of the race that I was bringing up the rear.
1. Of an animal, especially a horse, to rise up on its hind legs and raise its fore legs into the air. My horse reared up when a mountain lion ran in front of us, throwing me to the ground. I froze when I saw the bear rear up in anger.
2. Of an issue, problem, or topic, to appear, arise, or present itself very suddenly or unexpectedly. We finally fixed the leak, but now an issue with the control valve has reared up. We've had a few setbacks rear up during production, but we managed to get around them all in time for the original launch date of the device.
To jerk or pull backward and stand or sit straight up. The horse suddenly reared back, throwing the rider to the ground. She reared back when I opened up the box containing my pet tarantula.
A minor car accident in which minimal damage is incurred, especially to the front and rear bumpers of the two cars involved. Michelle was a new driver so she was extremely upset when she had her first accident. Luckily, it was just a rear-ender, so there was no real damage to either car involved. I know a mechanic who specializes in providing affordable repairs for scrapes, scratches, and rear-enders. You need to start slowing down much sooner when you're coming up to a red light, or sooner or later you'll end up causing a rear-ender with the car ahead of you.
get off (one's) rear
slang To start doing something, especially after a period of unproductivity or laziness. Grandma will be here in 30 minutes, so get off your rear and move this junk out of the living room! Ted needs to get off his rear for a change and make an effort around here.
at the rear of something
located at the back part of something. I keep my tools at the rear of my garage. There's a stream at the rear of my property.
bring up the rear
to move along behind everyone else; to be at the end of the line. (Originally referred to marching soldiers. Fixed order.) Here comes John, bringing up the rear. Hurry up, Tom! Why are you always bringing up the rear?
get off one's assand get off one's rear; get off one's butt
Sl. to get up and get busy; to stop loafing and get to work. (Caution with ass. Butt is also offensive to some people.) Get off your ass and get busy! It's time you got off your butt and started to work.
in the rear
located in the space or area behind someone or something. The waiter told me that the bathrooms were in the rear. All deliveries must be made in the rear.
See also: rear
pain in the assand a pain in the butt; a pain in the rear
Fig. a very annoying thing or person. (Crude. Potentially offensive. Use only with discretion. An elaboration of pain. Use caution with ass. Butt is less offensive. Rear is euphemistic.) That guy is a real pain in the ass. Things like that give me a pain in the butt.
1. Lit. [for a horse] to pull back and up onto its hind legs in an effort to move backwards rapidly or throw a rider. (See also rear up.) The animal reared back in terror. The horse reared back and almost threw its rider.
2. Fig. [for a person] to pull back and stand up or sit up straighter. He reared back in his chair and looked perturbed. Tom reared back in his chair, waiting for something else to happen.
rear its ugly head
Fig. [for something unpleasant] to appear or become obvious after lying hidden. Jealousy reared its ugly head and destroyed their marriage. The question of money always rears its ugly head in matters of business.
1. Lit. [for a horse] to lean back on its hind legs and raise its front legs, assuming a threatening posture or avoiding something on the ground such as a snake. (See also rear back.) The horse reared up suddenly, throwing the rider onto the ground. When the horse reared up, I almost fell off.
2. Fig. [for something, especially a problem] to raise up suddenly. A new problem reared up and cost us a lot of time. A lot of new costs reared up toward the end of the month.
bring up the rear
Be last in a line or sequence, as in As a slow walker, I'm used to bringing up the rear, or In test results Tom always brought up the rear. This term almost certainly came from the military but the earliest citation given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1643 religious treatise by Sir Thomas Browne: "My desires onely are . . . to be but the last man, and bring up the Rere in Heaven."
1. The back part of anything, especially a vehicle, as in There's a large dent in the rear end of the car.
2. The buttocks, as in I'm afraid these pants don't fit my rear end. The noun rear alone has been used in both these senses, the first since the late 1700s and the second since the mid-1900s. The addition of end occurred in the first half of the 1900s.
rear its ugly head
Appear. This phrase is used only of something undesirable or unpleasant, as in The interview went very well until a question about his academic record reared its ugly head . This expression was first recorded in slightly different form in Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers (1857): "Rebellion had already reared her hideous head."
rear its heador
raise its head
COMMON If something unpleasant rears its head or raises its head, it starts to appear or be active, often when it had stopped or been hidden for a period. Now the same ugly forces of racial hatred are beginning to rear their heads again. The familiar pattern of violence is raising its head once again in the region. Note: People often say that something unpleasant rears or raises its ugly head. We will not allow hooliganism to rear its ugly head again.
be bringing up the rear
If a person or vehicle is bringing up the rear, they are the last person or vehicle in a moving line of them. There were several police motorcyclists bringing up the rear of the procession. The soldiers followed, Kirov bringing up the rear.
bring up the rear1 be at the very end of a line of people or things. 2 come last in a race or other contest.
rear its (ugly) head(of an unpleasant matter) emerge; present itself.
rear/raise its (ugly) ˈhead(used of something considered unpleasant) appear again after being hidden or forgotten: Political corruption has reared its ugly head again. ♢ Famine has raised its head again in many parts of the world.
ˌbring up the ˈrear
1 be the last person or group to appear in a line or procession: The President led the way out of the courtyard, followed by senior officials. Junior officials brought up the rear.
2 finish last in a race or competition: Smith finished in 2nd place, Warren in 3rd, with poor Davis bringing up the rear in 12th place.
1. To rise on the hind legs, as of a horse: A rattlesnake slithered out from behind the bush, and the horse reared up.
2. To arise or appear suddenly or unexpectedly: We can handle any problems that rear up.
get off one’s rear
in. to get up and get busy. (Euphemistic for Get off my ass!) It’s time to get off your rear and get to work.
kick in the (seat of the) pantsand kick in the ass and kick in the butt and kick in the teeth and kick in the rear
n. a strong message of encouragement or a demand. (Usually objectionable.) All he needs is a kick in the seat of the pants to get him going. A kick in the teeth ought to wake them up and get them moving.
kick in the rearverb
pain in the assand pain in the butt and pain in the rear
n. a very annoying thing or person. (Usually objectionable. An elaboration of pain. Rear is euphemistic.) You are a pain in the ass! Things like that give me a pain in the butt.
pain in the rearverb
See pain in the ass
n. the tail end; the buttocks. (Euphemistic.) The dog bit her in the rear end.
See rear end
n. an automobile wreck where one car runs into the back of another. (see also fender-bender.) It wasn’t a bad accident, just a rear-ender. The rain caused a couple of “back-enders,” but there were no serious accidents.
bring up the rear
To be the last in a line or sequence.