[strawng-hohld, strong-]
a well-fortified place; fortress.
a place that serves as the center of a group, as of militants or of persons holding a controversial viewpoint: The campus was a stronghold of liberalism.

1375–1425; late Middle English; see strong, hold1

1, 2. bulwark, bastion. 2. home, refuge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stronghold (ˈstrɒŋˌhəʊld)
1.  a defensible place; fortress
2.  a major centre or area of predominance
[C15: from strong + hold1 (in the archaic sense: a fortified place)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 15c., from strong (adj.) + hold (n.) "fortified place, refuge."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The refuge is a stronghold for populations of the endangered palmate-bracted
  bird's-beak and the threatened giant garter snake.
For the time being however, fighting continues in a desperate effort to try and
  dislodge the rebels from their stronghold.
Insurgents soon seized the city and turned it into a strategic stronghold.
One day there's a lethal flare-up in a mountain stronghold.
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