[ fawr-tris ]
/ ˈfɔr trɪs /


a large fortified place; a fort or group of forts, often including a town; citadel.
any place of exceptional security; stronghold.

Origin of fortress

1300–50; Middle English forteresse < Old French < Vulgar Latin *fortaricia (compare Medieval Latin fortalitia), equivalent to Latin fort(is) strong + -ar-, formative of uncertain meaning +-icia -ice Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fortress

British Dictionary definitions for fortress


/ (ˈfɔːtrɪs) /


a large fort or fortified town
a place or source of refuge or support


(tr) to protect with or as if with a fortress

Word Origin for fortress

C13: from Old French forteresse, from Medieval Latin fortalitia, from Latin fortis strong
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

Word Origin and History for fortress



early 14c., from Old French forteresse "strong place" (12c.), variant of fortelesse, from Medieval Latin fortalitia, from Latin fortis "strong" (see fort) + English -ess, a fairly uncommon suffix (duress, largess being other examples), from Latin -itia, forming nouns of quality or condition.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper