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Hold the Fort: Origin and Meaning

To have responsibility for a place or situation while someone is away.
hold the fortIt is believed that this idiom originates from the middle ages. In the military, ‘to hold’ means ‘to defend’ and a fort is a strong building that soldiers used to defend a place. During a battle, a commander might have decided to take some of his soldiers away from the fort in order to attack the enemy. However, he would need to leave some reliable soldiers to ‘hold the fort’ (defend the fort) in case they were attacked while the commander was away.
“I need to leave the office for an hour. Can you hold the fort until I get back?”

“I’ll arrive at the shop at 12 tomorrow. Please hold the fort until then.”

Daughter: “Mum, Aunt Jennie called and asked if you can go and see her.”
Mother: “Oh, it must be something important. Will you hold the fort tonight?”
Daughter: “Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to.”
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