for·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌfȯr-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce fortification (audio) \

Definition of fortification

1 : an act or process of fortifying
2 : something that fortifies, defends, or strengthens especially : works erected to defend a place or position

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Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, many European cities were entirely enclosed by sturdy walls, with walkways along the top and towers at intervals, designed to make an invasion impossible. A water-filled ditch, or moat, might run alongside the wall for added defense. Such defenses turned the entire city into a fort, or fortress. Over the centuries, fortifications changed steadily with the development of new weaponry. In World War II, the German fortification of the French coast included antitank barriers, bunkers, minefields, and underwater obstacles, but it wasn't enough to turn back the immense force of the Allied invasion on D-day.

Examples of fortification in a Sentence

They began the fortification and reconstruction of the city. defenders at the border fortifications preparing for an attack
Recent Examples on the Web These people and institutions typically have weak cybersecurity fortifications, the penetration of which serves dual purposes. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The 2016 Election Was Just a Dry Run," 11 May 2020 The round buildings’ layered walls have a gap in between them, making the fortifications about ten feet thick. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Scottish Archaeologists Are Building a Replica of an Iron Age Stone Tower," 28 Apr. 2020 An ancient quarry near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, for example, has offered a smutty glimpse into the lives of the Roman soldiers who built the famous fortification. Fox News, "Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river," 30 Nov. 2019 On Friday, fewer than 130 people landed on the Greek islands, according to the United Nations refugee agency, while those ferried to the Greek land border were unable to cross the fortifications there. New York Times, "Turkey, Pressing E.U. for Help in Syria, Threatens to Open Borders to Refugees," 28 Feb. 2020 Students from Clemson University and the College of Charleston will use ground-penetrating radar in downtown Charleston’s Marion Square to find exactly where the fortification called the Hornwork was built, the American Battlefield Trust said. USA TODAY, "Crane season, corporal punishment, Common Core: News from around our 50 states," 11 Feb. 2020 The Second World War doesn’t seem to have affected him much (unlike the First, where he was conscripted to build war fortifications and contracted Spanish influenza). Marina Harss, The New Yorker, "Dancing to Robert Walser," 9 Oct. 2019 Circle back to the center through narrow lanes and past ancient granaries, ramparts and historic fortifications (one now famous as a leaning tower). Hugh Biggar, Washington Post, "Krakow has history, culture and shops. Up the river, so does Torun — minus the crowds.," 26 Feb. 2020 Connecting the Alps and the Adriatic, this hiking trail showcases the heritage of the Isonzo Front, including fortifications, military cemeteries and charnel houses, alongside the region’s stunning natural scenery. Washington Post, "Once war-torn, Slovenia has become a green retreat," 27 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fortification.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fortification

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fortification

Time Traveler

The first known use of fortification was in the 15th century

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Statistics for fortification

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fortification.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce fortification (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fortification

: the act of building military defenses to protect a place against attack : the act of fortifying something
: a structure (such as a wall or tower) that is built to protect a place


for·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌfȯr-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce fortification (audio) \

Kids Definition of fortification

1 : the act of making stronger or enriching
2 : something built to strengthen or protect

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