hold fort

fort

[fawrt, fohrt]
noun
1.
a strong or fortified place occupied by troops and usually surrounded by walls, ditches, and other defensive works; a fortress; fortification.
2.
any permanent army post.
3.
(formerly) a trading post.
Idioms
4.
hold the fort,
a.
to defend one's position against attack or criticism.
b.
to maintain the existing state of affairs.

Origin:
1550–60; < Middle French, noun use of adj. fort strong < Latin fortis

fort, forte (see pronunciation note at forte).
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fort (fɔːt)
 
n
1.  a fortified enclosure, building, or position able to be defended against an enemy
2.  informal hold the fort to maintain or guard something temporarily
 
[C15: from Old French, from fort (adj) strong, from Latin fortis]

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Word Origin & History

fort
1557, from M.Fr. fort, noun use of O.Fr. fort (adj.) "strong, fortified," from L. fortis "strong," from O.Latin forctus, from PIE base *bheregh- "high, elevated" (cf. Skt. brmhati "strengthens, elevates," O.H.G. berg "hill").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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