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 Cities have long built walls and other defensive fortifications for protection. Winnie Hu, New York Times, "‘Hostile Architecture’: How Public Spaces Keep the Public Out," 8 Nov. 2019 The buffer zone and its fortifications shelter wolves and vultures from hunting, according to Shmulik Yedvab, of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Anna Fletcher, CNN, "Wildlife is flourishing in these demilitarized zones," 25 Nov. 2019 The acropolis of Glas, with its three-kilometer (1.9-mile) fortification walls, is the biggest of its era in Greece. Washington Post, "Greece: New bid to understand prehistoric engineering feat," 8 Nov. 2019 The city was protected by a fortification wall, and a cemetery sat outside the city boundaries. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Early Bronze Age City Was the ‘New York’ of the Southern Levant," 11 Oct. 2019 But upstairs, on a terrace, a spiral staircase leads to a small rectangle of a studio perched uneasily atop the house, like a fortification. Washington Post, "Michael Tilson Thomas was once the ‘bad boy of classical music.’ Now, at 74, he still conducts with childlike delight.," 6 Dec. 2019 Making history The wall stood for 10,316 days, with military fortifications dividing and tightly sealing the streets and public spaces that once formed the city’s civic center. Jonathan Rock Rokem, Quartz, "In Berlin, hyper-gentrification has proved just how fast conflict-torn cities can change," 9 Nov. 2019 What resulted was the Rampart, which takes its name from the defensive fortifications around a city. William Thornton |, al, "New Rampart device, invented in Alabama, offers radiation protection," 3 Nov. 2019 Finds of weapons and sturdy fortifications at other sites had suggested that combat was a part of life during this era. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "What a Warrior’s Lost Toolkit Says About the Oldest Known Battle in Europe," 16 Oct. 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

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fortification.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 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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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 assert without proof or before proving

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