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ford, shallow place in a body of water, especially a river, that may be crossed by wading. Around the crossings habitually forded, cities sprang up; hence fords came to be the sites of numerous river towns. They have been of particular importance in migrations and in the deployment of armies in campaigns and have therefore been frequently fortified.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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