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  1. #1
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Default Fort vs Fortress

    What is the difference between fort and fortress?

    No maybe I'm not asking what I really have in mind. It's more like this:

    When I saw a newspaper using the word 'murderess' for a woman killer, this fort and fortress thing immediately came to my mind. The word 'murderess' wasn't something I come across often, and I didn't know the word could be used in such fashion. (Murderer --> Murderess)

    Well, I suppose you could refer to a female killer as a murderess as opposed to a murderer because, well, she could be distinguished from her male counterpart.

    But things such as fort don't have the gender. I've seen more words with its -ress suffix counterpart, although they represent non-living things and shouldn't have the gender. Unfortunately I can't seem to recall other words that fall in the catagory, thanks to my memory rivals that of a fish.

    Could you explain why sometimes words that represent non-living things have their female counterpart with -ress suffix? Could you also tell me the difference between fort and fortress? and could you come up with some other
    'non-living' words that have their -ress suffix form? Thank you very much, I hope I'm not wearing you down with a simple question made long.
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 15-Jul-2005 at 14:02.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Fort vs Fortress

    If it's made of wood, or temporary, I'd call it a 'fort'. For things like castles, I'd use 'fortress'. I honestly don't know the reason for the suffix.

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