Posted by Lewis on December 08, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Hold the Fort! posted by ESC on December 08, 2003
: : Can you please help me figure out what this means and how it came about? Thank you - SAx
: From Merriam-Webster online:
: HOLD -- 9 a : to maintain occupation, control, or defense of. The troops held the ridge.; also : to resist the offensive efforts or advance of. Held the opposing team to just two points.
: FORT -- 1 : a strong or fortified place; especially : a fortified place occupied only by troops and surrounded with such works as a ditch, rampart, and parapet : FORTIFICATION
: 2 : a permanent army post -- often used in place names
: Origin: white settlers and soldiers in the Old West fighting to keep Indians from overwhelming them and taking over the fort.
Yes, I know that a lot of online resources are dominated by the USA, but again - think about it!
A 'fort' is the abbreviation for 'fortress' that has been used for centuries and has come to mean a defended position (with living quarters) of modest size and importance. For goodness sake, Roman legions occupied 'forts' which in the Forbidden Tongue they called 'castra' which may have derived from 'cedra' meaning seat or established place. English placenames ending "caster" or "chester" derive from such names - e.g. Doncaster, Lancaster, Winchester, Porchester, Rochester and of course, Chester itself.
It's like the Welsh word 'caer', I think (as in Caernavon or (bastardised?) Caedr Idris.
(May my ancestors forgive my spelling of Welsh place-names). The other closely derived word is Cathedral, a bishop's seat.
Fort or fortress, of course, derive from another fobidden word 'forte' meaning 'strong' - I may be able to claim they are Italian rather than the earlier Late-In and so not get banned from here.
Pre-historic sites of encampment are often called 'forts' e.g. Iron Age Fort. No Native Americans looking to take people into Custer-dy there!
A fort is a small strong-hold, pre-dating the American West by - what 4 millennia?