Hold down the fort (or simply hold the fort) is a figure of speech that is used to tell someone that you temporarily put them in charge of a situation while you are absent.
By using the expression, you let the other person know that they have to take control of their environment, and that you trust them with responsibilities until you get back.
The expression “hold the fort” was born as part of a military wire command in 1864, when General William T. Sherman ordered his troops to hold on and defend a besieged fort during the American Civil War.
Later the expression started to vary in form when it began to appear in gospels during the 20th century, and eventually turned into “hold down the fort”, which is the most commonly used version of the colloquial expression today.
The linguistic community has submitted several scientific articles on hold down the fort from the early 21st century, parts of the expression’s origin are still debated.
Aside from the etymological dispute, hold down the fort also appears on various image macro-type memes online.
- Merriam-webster.com – Hold down the fort