noun (1)
\ ˈfȯrt How to pronounce forte (audio) ; sense 2 is often ˈfȯr-ˌtā or fȯr-ˈtā or ˈfȯr-tē How to pronounce forte (audio) \

Definition of forte

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one's strong point
2 : the part of a sword or foil blade that is between the middle and the hilt and that is the strongest part of the blade


adverb or adjective
for·​te | \ ˈfȯr-ˌtā How to pronounce forte (audio) , ˈfȯr-tē \

Definition of forte (Entry 2 of 3)

: loud used as a direction in musicviolins played the passage forte


noun (2)
for·​te | \ ˈfȯr-ˌtā How to pronounce forte (audio) , ˈfȯr-tē \

Definition of forte (Entry 3 of 3)

: a musical tone or passage played loudly

Keep scrolling for more

How do you pronounce forte?: Usage Guide

Noun (1)

In forte we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \ˈfȯr-ˌtā\ and \ˈfȯr-tē\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived forte entry 2. Their recommended pronunciation \ˈfȯrt\, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word le fort and would pronounce it more similar to English for. So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English \ˈfȯ-ˌtā\ and \ˈfȯt\ predominate; \ˈfȯr-ˌtā\ and \fȯr-ˈtā\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English.

Examples of forte in a Sentence

Noun (1) Emily's particular forte was desserts, and most dinner parties ended with three desserts. — Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClercq, An Antebellum Plantation Household, 1996 Even during Picasso's youthful figurative stages, stark realism was never his forte — Patricia Corbett, Connoisseur, July 1988 Though his forte was never the novel but the novella, he paid the rent by grinding out novel after novel … — Hugh Kenner, A Sinking Island, (1987) 1988
See More

First Known Use of forte

Noun (1)

circa 1648, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adverb or adjective

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1759, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for forte

Noun (1)

French fort, from fort, adjective, strong

Adverb or adjective and Noun (2)

Italian, from forte strong, from Latin fortis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forte

Time Traveler for forte

Time Traveler

The first known use of forte was circa 1648

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about forte

Statistics for forte

Cite this Entry

“Forte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for forte


How to pronounce forte (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forte

music : in a loud manner


\ ˈfȯrt How to pronounce forte (audio) , ˈfȯr-ˌtā \

Kids Definition of forte

: something in which a person shows special ability Music is my forte.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on forte

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forte

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forte

Spanish Central: Translation of forte

Comments on forte

What made you want to look up forte? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!