Definition of fortress in English:



  • 1A military stronghold, especially a strongly fortified town fit for a large garrison.

    • ‘The town was in fact a village within a fortress, though not the strongest of them all.’
    • ‘This substantial strong fortress, strategically situated on a spur of Bredon Hill, overlooks the river Avon.’
    • ‘City walls, towers, churches, and fortresses strongly connect Estonians to the past.’
    • ‘The Roman army built legionary fortresses, forts, camps, and roads, and assisted with the construction of buildings in towns.’
    • ‘It was a separate fortress surrounded by strong walls.’
    • ‘In 1665, Nikofor Chernigovsky converted the town into a fortress.’
    • ‘It was really surprising to know that Camp Abubakar was a military fortress and not an ordinary Muslim community.’
    • ‘The USSR's main Black Sea naval base was one of the world's strongest fortresses.’
    • ‘Positional warfare - that is, the construction, defence, and attack of fortresses and fortified lines - played a major role in seventeenth and eighteenth-century warfare.’
    • ‘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 argument against it being Roman in origin is that there are no Roman fortresses or other military structures along its route.’
    • ‘Most contemporary commanders used their troops in a slow, expensive, attritional warfare based on sieges of selected fortified cities or fortresses.’
    • ‘Within the bustling capital is Old Havana, a walled city of 143 hectares with three military fortresses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘World War I saw the evolution of a new fortification setup combining field strongholds with fortresses.’
    • ‘Surely someone in the town surrounding the fortress would come and find her.’
    • ‘They secured various towns and fortresses in the Orontes valley.’
    • ‘They have inherited the military fortresses that are described as police stations.’
    • ‘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.’
    fort, castle, citadel, blockhouse, burg, keep, tower, donjon, turret, bunker
    stronghold, redoubt, fortification, bastion
    hold, fortalice
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A heavily protected and impenetrable building.
      • ‘Many students and parents feel that private institutions are protected fortresses for the rich.’
      • ‘He never intended for voice mail to become the impenetrable fortress of evil that it has become today.’
      • ‘The conference hall itself is a virtual fortress protected by massive steel barriers.’
      • ‘In addition to the intricate details on the walls and doors, there were runes of power and magical wards protecting the fortresses from unwanted visitors.’
      • ‘Modern day builders are building modern day fortresses to protect us from our fellow countrymen.’
    2. 1.2figurative A person or thing not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance.
      ‘he had proved himself to be a fortress of moral rectitude’
      • ‘But already we pay a price, levied not in blood but in freedom, as a fortress mentality seeps into the national culture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No nation can erect a fortress against influenza - not even the world's wealthiest country.’
      • ‘A paranoid fortress mentality has unfortunately gripped the government policy makers in the most underpopulated country on earth.’
      • ‘Six years ago the bank was being admonished for its narrow focus, its fortress mentality, and its lack of responsiveness.’


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