fight a rearguard action

fight a rearguard action

To try to stop something that likely cannot be prevented. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I know we're probably fighting a rearguard action against the board with this petition, but it's worth a try.
See also: action, fight

fight a rearguard action

COMMON If you fight a rearguard action, you try hard to stop something happening when there is little possibility that you will succeed. Groups, both on the left and the right, are still fighting a rearguard action against the plan. Note: Other verbs are sometimes used instead of fight, such as mount and stage. The opposition party have mounted a desperate, rearguard action against economic reforms. Note: You can also just talk about a rearguard action. However, the rearguard action may prove too late. Note: The rearguard of a retreating army is a unit which separates from the rest and acts as a defence while the rest of the army is getting away.
See also: action, fight
References in periodicals archive ?
No company should have to fall back on The Grocer to fight a rearguard action on their behalf.
He was told to fight a rearguard action so that the others could be rescued from the beach.
The Saddlers defied the odds to beat the South Coast club 1-0 despite losing Rhys Weston and Netan Sansara in the first half and having to fight a rearguard action for more than an hour.
YORK were forced to fight a rearguard action at Glanford Park after seeing Jon Parkin sent off in the first-half.
The local supporters club are planning to fight a rearguard action but it must be long odds against them succeeding.