for·​tress | \ ˈfȯr-trəs \

Definition of fortress

: a fortified place : stronghold especially : a large and permanent fortification sometimes including a town

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fortress

fortresslike \ ˈfȯr-​trəs-​līk \ adjective

Examples of fortress in a Sentence

the boys built a snow fortress and then challenged the neighborhood kids to an in-your-face snowball fight

Recent Examples on the Web

University students in Managua have left their homes to avoid putting their families at risk and taken over college campuses, turning them into fortresses. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Nicaragua university students under attack as they lead political uprising against Ortega," 8 June 2018 Old Trafford has once again become a fortress this campaign, with only Manchester City leaving with all three points., "Manchester United vs Watford Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More," 12 May 2018 The glow emanating on the horizon from these fortresses—built in depopulated regions of Wyoming and Colorado—is both chilling and sublime. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, "‘Ansel Adams in Our Time’ Review: Reconsidering a Mountainous Career," 12 Dec. 2018 The castle is the world's oldest (more than 900 years old) and largest inhabited royal castle in the world, a massive (nearly 500,000 square feet) fortress built by William the Conqueror and occupying 13 acres. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "What to expect when the Trumps meet Queen Elizabeth II at her favorite castle," 11 July 2018 The space itself will be reminiscent of the medieval fortress villages the Landes region is known for. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Medieval-inspired French village is designed specifically for Alzheimer’s patients," 12 June 2018 And then there’s the ravenmaster, Christopher Skaife, charged with caring for the seven corvids that reside at the Tower of London, the 11th-century walled fortress that today is one of Britain’s most popular tourist sites. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "The secrets of the royal ravenmaster at the Tower of London," 26 Oct. 2018 Emma said, referring to Outpost 3, the secret underground fortress where the main characters take shelter after experiencing the end of the world. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Emma Roberts on the Creepiest Part of Filming "American Horror Story: Apocalypse"," 6 Oct. 2018 And yes, the aesthetics are the same: furs and fortresses, gloriously tattooed pagans, bloody battles in windswept fields. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "The Last Kingdom," 21 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fortress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fortress

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fortress

Middle English forteresse, from Anglo-French fortelesce, forteresse, from Medieval Latin fortalitia, from Latin fortis strong

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fortress

Statistics for fortress

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fortress

The first known use of fortress was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fortress



English Language Learners Definition of fortress

: a place that is protected against attack : a fortified place


for·​tress | \ ˈfȯr-trəs \

Kids Definition of fortress

: a place that is protected against attack

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fortress

What made you want to look up fortress? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!