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man the fort
To mind or take charge of a location during the time in which it is unattended by another. Don't worry, honey, I'll man the fort at home until you get back from the grocery store. The entire editorial department left the office early for their Christmas celebration, leaving just a couple of interns to man the fort for the rest of the day.
be like Fort Knox
To be inaccessible, usually because the item or place in question is locked or guarded. Fort Knox is a military site in Kentucky where stores of gold are kept. The kids are home by themselves, but don't worry, the house is like Fort Knox with all the security cameras. I can't get into the safe, it's like Fort Knox!
hold (down) the fort
To maintain the proper functioning or order of some situation or place, typically during someone's absence. Don't worry, boss, I'll hold down the fort while you're away.
hold the fort
Fig. to take care of a place while someone who is usually there is gone, such as a store or one's home. (From western movies.) I'm going next door to visit Mrs. Jones. You stay here and hold the fort. You should open the store at eight o'clock and hold the fort until I get there at ten.
hold the fort
Assume responsibility, especially in another's absence; also, maintain a secure position. For example, Harry did a good job of holding the fort until his boss recovered, or Can you hold the fort in the kitchen? This expression has been traced to an order given by General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1864, which was repeated as "Hold the fort [against the enemy at Allatoona] at all costs, for I am coming."
hold the fortmainly BRITISH or
hold down the fortAMERICAN
If you hold the fort for someone, you look after things for them while they are somewhere else. Her husband holds the fort at their Norfolk home during the week. You can hold down the fort here. I shouldn't be too long.
hold the forttake responsibility for a situation while someone is absent.
hold the ˈfort(British English) (American English hold down the ˈfort) (informal) be in charge or taking care of something while the person usually responsible is not there: I’m going abroad for a few weeks, and Kathy will hold the fort while I’m away.
be like/as safe as Fort ˈKnox(about a building) be strongly built, with many locks, strong doors, alarms, etc. so that it is very safe and difficult for thieves to enter: This home of yours is like Fort Knox. ♢ Financially she’s as safe as Fort Knox. Fort Knox is a military base in Kentucky where most of the US’s store of gold is kept.
hold the fort
tv. to remain behind and take care of things. I left John there to hold the fort.
hold the fortInformal
1. To assume responsibility, especially in another's absence.
2. To maintain a secure position.
hold the fort, to
To keep things going until further support arrives. The expression comes, as might be suspected, from a literal military order. It has been traced to one given by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in 1864, during the American Civil War, to Gen. John M. Corse at Allatoona. Corse was told to give up so as to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but he refused, saying he had received an order from Sherman saying, “Hold the fort at all costs, for I am coming.” Records show that the actual words had been, “Hold out, relief is coming,” but fort is what caught on and was further popularized when it was made the refrain of a gospel song by Philip Paul Bliss.
See also: hold