for·​ti·​fy | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce fortify (audio) \
fortified; fortifying

Definition of fortify

transitive verb

: to make strong: such as
a : to strengthen and secure (a place, such as a town) by forts or batteries a city fortified by high walls
b : to give physical strength, courage, or endurance to fortified by a hearty meal
c : to add mental or moral strength to : encourage fortified by prayer fortified by early successes
d : to strengthen or enhance by the addition of some substance or ingredient: such as
(1) : to add distilled grape spirits to (wine) during fermentation to increase the alcohol content … both the red and white versions we get in this country have been American-made-from California wine fortified with a touch of brandy.— Jim Nelson
(2) : to enrich (food) by adding ingredients (such as vitamins or minerals) to improve the nutritional value … make sure any soy milk you buy is fortified with vitamin D, an essential nutrient for bone health.— Selene Yeager

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Other Words from fortify

fortifier \ ˈfȯr-​tə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce fortify (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Medieval cities were fortified against attack by high walls, and volunteers may fortify a levee against an overflowing river by means of sandbags. Foods can be fortified by adding vitamins, but "fortified wines", such as sherry and port, have brandy (a "stronger" drink) rather than vitamins added to them. By adopting good exercise habits, you can fortify your body against illness. And fortifying needn't always be physical. An author's reputation may be fortified by the success of his new book, or a prosecutor can fortify a case against a suspect by finding more evidence.

Examples of fortify in a Sentence

fortify a city against attack a city fortified by high walls Support for his theories has been fortified by the results of these experiments. He took a deep breath to fortify himself before stepping onto the stage. milk fortified with vitamin D
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Recent Examples on the Web Abu Dhabi plans to relinquish control over prices of Murban to investors and traders, a major step in efforts to fortify its position in the international oil market. Joe Wallace, WSJ, "New Mideast Crude Contract May Test OPEC’s Grip on Oil," 29 Mar. 2021 Drummond, a two-time All-Star, would immediately assume a leadership role, and would also fortify a frontcourt that has had varying degrees of success and struggles with Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Veteran big man Andre Drummond to sign with Lakers, agent says," 28 Mar. 2021 The trade deadline has passed, but the Celtics are not done looking for ways to fortify their roster., "Many options to improve roster still on the table," 28 Mar. 2021 Da’Nai confirmed that the couple are currently together as a result of Jaxn’s effort to fortify their bond to the level of her expectations. Essence, "Why Everyone Is Talking About Relationship YouTuber Derrick Jaxn's Cheating Apology Video," 23 Mar. 2021 Minneapolis will prepare and fortify key government buildings ahead of the first trial over the death of George Floyd while in the city's police custody. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Minneapolis fortifies grounds near key government buildings ahead of first trial over George Floyd death," 24 Feb. 2021 Beyond their ability to fortify the spirits, each one of these recipes is damn delicious too. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, "The 10 Most Popular Soup Recipes of 2020," 16 Dec. 2020 The construction of the Himalayan village suggests that China has extended a broader campaign to fortify its southern flanks to include Bhutan, a Buddhist nation of 800,000 people. Steven Lee Myers New York Times, Star Tribune, "China attempts to win Bhutan territorial dispute by simply moving homes in," 28 Nov. 2020 The multilevel failures of the political class, including the failure to fortify communities against the erosion of our democratic infrastructures, of course mean that some number of people will not vote for Joe Biden. Isabel Cristo, The New Republic, "The Bernie Organizers Who Want to Elect Biden—Then Defeat Him," 23 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fortify.' 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 fortify

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for fortify

Middle English fortifien, from Anglo-French fortifier, from Late Latin fortificare, from Latin fortis strong

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Time Traveler for fortify

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fortify

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fortify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for fortify



English Language Learners Definition of fortify

: to strengthen (a place) by building military defenses (such as walls, trenches, etc.)
: to make (someone or something) stronger
: to make (yourself) feel stronger or less fearful


for·​ti·​fy | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce fortify (audio) \
fortified; fortifying

Kids Definition of fortify

1 : to make strong Walls fortified the city against attack. Calcium fortifies bones.
2 : to add material to (something) to strengthen or improve it The cereal was fortified with vitamins.

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