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Holding down the fort

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 16, 2009 at 21:33

In Reply to: Holding down the fort posted by xforce11 on March 16, 2009 at 20:45:

: What is the origin of the phrase "Holding down the fort"?

The correct phrase is "hold the fort" - there's no "down".
Since the Middle Ages "hold" in a military context has meant, "to keep forcibly against an adversary; defend; occupy". If the commander of a fort decided to take some of his forces to make a foray against the enemy, he would always have to leave some of his men in charge of a reliable officer to hold the fort against any possible attack while they were away. (VSD)