- a screen or a decorated part of the wall behind an altar in a church.
- the back of a fireplace or of a medieval open hearth.
- a screen or wall decoration at the back of an altar, in the form of a hanging, tapestry, painting, or piece of metalwork or sculpture
- another word for fireback (def. 1)
“screen behind an altar,” late 14c., from Anglo-French rere-, archaic comb. form of rear (n.), + dos “back” (see dossier). Klein’s sources suggest it is aphetic of Anglo-French areredos, from Old French arere “at the back” (Modern French arrière).