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 The Mavericks did, though, greatly fortify their most glaring weak area, the wing position, with long and athletic trade acquisition Josh Richardson, draft pick Josh Green and free agent signee Wesley Iwundu. Dallas News, "Mavericks miss out on third star but shore up glaring weakness with offseason moves," 23 Nov. 2020 On Sunday the Broncos gutted Miami, owning the line of scrimmage, and exposing that more work in the draft and free agency is needed to fortify the trenches on both sides of the ball. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Broncos’ win shows NFL that Dolphins are susceptible to bully ball | Commentary," 22 Nov. 2020 Correspondent Mo Rocca drinks in the history of the alcoholic beverage that helped fortify a revolution, put at least one president in the White House, and is – even in these sobering times – keeping spirits up. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (November 22): The Food Issue," 19 Nov. 2020 His offensive skills will fortify the Lakers’ status as the odds-on favorites to repeat. Lz Granderson, Los Angeles Times, "Column: 3 > 2, but 2 > 0: The case for the Lakers to trade for DeMar DeRozan," 15 Nov. 2020 All three of the popes embraced the canonization process as a tool to fortify the faithful with the notion that saints are still among us, but also as mission statements for who merits emulation. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Sainted Too Soon? Vatican Report Cast John Paul II in Harsh New Light," 14 Nov. 2020 The administration in recent weeks imposed a volley of sanctions against Iran intended in part to fortify its campaign against any future effort to unwind it, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Use of Sanctions as U.S. Foreign-Policy Tool Would Likely Continue Under Biden," 30 Oct. 2020 Shrubs and trees, with tough bark to fortify them against the cold, are generally shoot-hardy. Beth Botts,, "Your plants might be hardy enough to survive a Chicago winter, but their blooms are a different story," 8 Nov. 2020 Here’s what happened—and how the company is trying to fortify itself for the election and beyond. Steven Levy, Wired, "The Business of the Internet Is Stuck in Trump's Swamp," 25 Sep. 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

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fortify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 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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