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 Peixoto will dose corals with a multistrain cocktail that has a much broader aim—to fortify corals against bleaching and the ill health that follows. Elizabeth Svoboda, Scientific American, "Will Probiotics Save Corals or Harm Them?," 1 May 2021 The Patriots chose to fortify their front seven with their third-round draft pick Friday night, selecting Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins with the 96th overall selection., "Patriots draft Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins, who was suspended for failed drug test," 30 Apr. 2021 Nester will fortify the offensive front for the Mountaineers immediately. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "The 15 biggest transfers in college football: Oklahoma, Florida State headline top moves," 28 Apr. 2021 Then, fortify it with a second line, a few feet further out from the first. Angela Watson,, "How to keep deer out of the garden," 4 Apr. 2021 As more data beget better analysis, which in turn attracts more usage, more data and more profits, these swollen data war chests fortify their platform networks and potentially stifle competition. CNN, "We need to create a global standard to protect and share data — before it's too late," 29 Mar. 2021 Even a narrow Trump victory would enable the right to further fortify a permanent illiberal regime capable of neutralizing the results of a demographic upheaval. Christopher R. Browning, The New York Review of Books, "Imperiled Democracy, Imperiled Planet," 3 Nov. 2020 Outages of major exchanges occur periodically, despite efforts by operators to fortify their systems, as electronic-trading volumes have soared in recent years and cyber-threats have mounted. Chieko Tsuneoka, WSJ, "Tokyo Stock Exchange Sets Restart After Daylong Shutdown," 1 Oct. 2020 The history of anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation in the Asian community, orientalism in hip-hop, and the intentional wielding of the model minority myth by other communities attempt to fortify the divide. Niki Mcgloster,, "Black and Asian Solidarity Has A Long History — Here Are The Women Now Leading The Way," 21 Apr. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fortify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 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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