for·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌfȯr-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən \

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

The tunnels serve as defensive fortifications against predators who, like the termites, collect their food from the forest floor. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Found: A Field of Termite Mounds You Can See From Space," 19 Nov. 2018 Roman records related that the emperor Commodus, who ruled the Roman empire from A.D. 180 to 192, built a temple to Apollo at Nicea outside the city fortifications. Tom Metcalfe, Fox News, "Ancient church hidden in Turkish lake and a Pagan temple may lie beneath it," 6 Sep. 2018 Right past it, a fresh layer of dirt filled what appeared to be a large trench dug by the insurgents for fortification. Albert Aji, Fox News, "Syria revels in recapture of town near Israel-occupied Golan," 27 July 2018 This was enough to support an infantry attack in motion, and then provide a mobile fortification after a successful defense. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "100 Years Ago Today, Tanks Changed Warfare Forever," 15 Sep. 2016 Fortresses to withstand a siege What the Maya were building during the Late Classic Period, however, were fortifications—and lots of them. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What 61,000 hidden structures reveal about Maya civilization," 28 Sep. 2018 In 1629, construction began on the mammoth project and the fortifications that would line it. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Moses Bridge: The Netherlands' Bridge Under Troubled Water," 6 Aug. 2018 The British built elaborate fortifications to protect the garrison and citizenry, and renamed York Castle as their citadel. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "An Exhibition in Tangier Pays Tribute to Design World Darling Charles Sevigny," 3 Aug. 2018 Ancient settlements were usually surrounded by fortifications or drainage ditches. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018

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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Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for fortification

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of fortification

1 : the act of making stronger or enriching

2 : something built to strengthen or protect

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Comments on fortification

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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