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[fawrt, fohrt] /fɔrt, foʊrt/
a strong or fortified place occupied by troops and usually surrounded by walls, ditches, and other defensive works; a fortress; fortification.
any permanent army post.
(formerly) a trading post.
hold the fort,
  1. to defend one's position against attack or criticism.
  2. to maintain the existing state of affairs.
Origin of fort
1550-60; < Middle French, noun use of adj. fort strong < Latin fortis
Can be confused
fort, forte (see pronunciation note at forte) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hold the fort


a fortified enclosure, building, or position able to be defended against an enemy
(informal) hold the fort, to maintain or guard something temporarily
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from fort (adj) strong, from Latin fortis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hold the fort



mid-15c., "fortified place, stronghold," from Middle French fort, from noun use in Old French of fort (adj.) "strong, fortified" (10c.), from Latin fortis "strong, mighty, firm, steadfast," from Old Latin forctus, possibly from PIE root *bheregh- "high, elevated," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts (cf. Sanskrit brmhati "strengthens, elevates," Old High German berg "hill;" see barrow (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hold the fort

hold the fort

verb phrase

To remain at a location and handle matters: Can you hold the fort while I go downtown for a walk

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hold the fort

hold the fort

at all costs, for I am coming.”


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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