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 fortifier (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 At the same time, our data found that there were responses also against other pieces of the virus, which opens the way to thinking that maybe these other pieces could also be included to further fortify a vaccine concept. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Early Coronavirus Immunity Data Fuel Promise for a Vaccine," 22 May 2020 Bruce Pearl has already secured the top signing class in Auburn basketball history, but with two scholarships still left to be filled, the Tigers’ coach has a chance to fortify the 2020 class -- and his next opportunity will come Thursday. Tom Green |, al, "Can Auburn fortify program’s top recruiting class with addition of Dylan Cardwell?," 6 May 2020 But the role of grandchildren is to move forward and forget, to become far too busy for the laborious, frugal food that fortified our childhoods. Charlotte Mendelson, The New Yorker, "A Search for My Grandmother’s Lost Chicken Paprikash," 9 Oct. 2019 In recent days, the Biden campaign has started its biggest hiring spree since entering the race, fortifying the thin team that carried him through the primaries with additions ranging from new deputy campaign managers to digital experts. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "Biden Has an Edge on Trump. So Why Are Democrats Worried?," 13 May 2020 Jackson fills a huge hole, likely at right guard, after the departure of Graham Glasgow and helps fortify the run game and protect Matthew Stafford. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Opinion: Detroit Lions earned a B-plus for 2020 NFL draft haul," 26 Apr. 2020 The rice and beans were crucial to the experience, offering succor from the chile’s needling spice, but also fortifying and delicious on their own. Patricia Escárcega, Bon Appétit, "It’s Time We Give the Mexican Combo Platter the Credit It Deserves," 13 Feb. 2020 With on-campus lectures canceled, students’ energies went into stockpiling medieval–style weaponry like fencing blades, slingshots and bows and arrows and fortifying blockades in preparation for showdowns with police. Laignee Barron/hong Kong, Time, "A Siege in Hong Kong Heralds a New Phase of Protest," 21 Nov. 2019 Protesters have been holed up at the PolyU campus since last week, after an escalation in the months-long unrest that saw multiple universities across the city fortified and turned into temporary protest camps. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "What's left of one Hong Kong university after hundreds of protesters fled," 19 Nov. 2019

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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Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for fortify


How to pronounce fortify (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on fortify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fortify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fortify

Spanish Central: Translation of fortify

Nglish: Translation of fortify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fortify for Arabic Speakers

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