Definition of fortress in English:



  • 1A military stronghold, especially a strongly fortified town.

    • ‘Most contemporary commanders used their troops in a slow, expensive, attritional warfare based on sieges of selected fortified cities or fortresses.’
    • ‘His main objective was to take the towns and fortresses of northern France and make them permanent English garrisons, exploiting the surrounding countryside to make the war pay its own way.’
    • ‘The Roman army built legionary fortresses, forts, camps, and roads, and assisted with the construction of buildings in towns.’
    • ‘This substantial strong fortress, strategically situated on a spur of Bredon Hill, overlooks the river Avon.’
    • ‘Surely someone in the town surrounding the fortress would come and find her.’
    • ‘The argument against it being Roman in origin is that there are no Roman fortresses or other military structures along its route.’
    • ‘The USSR's main Black Sea naval base was one of the world's strongest fortresses.’
    • ‘In 1665, Nikofor Chernigovsky converted the town into a fortress.’
    • ‘World War I saw the evolution of a new fortification setup combining field strongholds with fortresses.’
    • ‘They secured various towns and fortresses in the Orontes valley.’
    • ‘It was a separate fortress surrounded by strong walls.’
    • ‘It was really surprising to know that Camp Abubakar was a military fortress and not an ordinary Muslim community.’
    • ‘The town was in fact a village within a fortress, though not the strongest of them all.’
    • ‘The water fortress is the earliest man-made ancient military port in the country.’
    • ‘In fact, almost every castle, fortress, town or village had some sort of arena.’
    • ‘There is certainly no doubt that within many former Roman towns and fortresses in England, there still remained many impressive, if ruinous, standing defences and buildings in the ninth century.’
    • ‘Positional warfare - that is, the construction, defence, and attack of fortresses and fortified lines - played a major role in seventeenth and eighteenth-century warfare.’
    • ‘They have inherited the military fortresses that are described as police stations.’
    • ‘City walls, towers, churches, and fortresses strongly connect Estonians to the past.’
    • ‘Within the bustling capital is Old Havana, a walled city of 143 hectares with three military fortresses.’
    fort, castle, citadel, blockhouse, burg, keep, tower, donjon, turret, bunker
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person or thing not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance.
      ‘he had proved himself to be a fortress of moral rectitude’
      • ‘A paranoid fortress mentality has unfortunately gripped the government policy makers in the most underpopulated country on earth.’
      • ‘But already we pay a price, levied not in blood but in freedom, as a fortress mentality seeps into the national culture.’
      • ‘No nation can erect a fortress against influenza - not even the world's wealthiest country.’
      • ‘Six years ago the bank was being admonished for its narrow focus, its fortress mentality, and its lack of responsiveness.’
      • ‘It is not because my husband and I are less willing to give time to good causes, but because our attempts to do so have been blocked by a fortress mentality.’


Middle English: from Old French forteresse ‘strong place’, based on Latin fortis ‘strong’.