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

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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fortress (ˈfɔːtrɪs)
1.  a large fort or fortified town
2.  a place or source of refuge or support
3.  (tr) to protect with or as if with a fortress
[C13: from Old French forteresse, from Medieval Latin fortalitia, from Latin fortis strong]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., from O.Fr. forteresse "strong place," variant of fortelesse, from M.L. fortalitia, from L. fortis "strong" + Eng. -ess, a fairly uncommon suffix (duress, largess being other examples), from L. -itia, forming nouns of quality or condition.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Fortress is one of the world's largest private equity and hedge fund managers.
Since capitalism has won everywhere, they tend to barricade themselves in some
  sort of mental fortress.
But there are plenty of congressmen who are anxious not to see their building
  turned into an inaccessible fortress.
Excavation revealed a giant limestone cavern beneath the fortress.
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