fortitude

noun
for·​ti·​tude | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce fortitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd\

Definition of fortitude

1 : strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage
2 obsolete : strength

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Did You Know?

Fortitude comes from the Latin word fortis, meaning "strong," and in English it has always been used primarily to describe strength of mind. For a time, the word was also used to mean physical strength - Shakespeare used that sense in The First Part of King Henry the Sixth:

"Coward of France! How much he wrongs his fame
Despairing of his own arm's fortitude." But despite use by the Bard, that second sense languished and is now considered obsolete."

Examples of fortitude in a Sentence

… everyone in the family was succored by Elizabeth's fortitude and steadfastness. — Nicholas Fox Weber, The Clarks Of Cooperstown, 2007 But now Frum, by having the fortitude to revisit that bizarre era, has half-persuaded me that the '70s, a partial negation of the '60s, in one way, were a partial confirmation of them in another. — Christopher Hitchens, Civilization, April/May 2000 He learned that war was a hurly-burly of violence in which men prevailed through imagination and the fortitude to struggle on despite reverses. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 She has endured disappointments with fortitude and patience. it was only with the greatest fortitude that the Pilgrims were able to survive their first winter in Plymouth
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Recent Examples on the Web

Recent turmoil, however, has also revealed an internal fortitude that could help the Girard College junior track phenom compete in the 2020 Olympics. Aaron Carter, Philly.com, "Olympic hopeful Thelma Davies is outrunning opponents, even a mysterious rash," 24 May 2018 That a woman of this caliber, this fortitude, this integrity, and this intelligence might have a shot at becoming our leader. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "So, Kirsten Gillibrand and Connie Britton Have Quietly Been BFFs for Years," 5 Apr. 2019 With his team's fortitude, Flores believes Cypress Falls can still find a way without Weaver. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "Cypress Falls boys beat Bellaire in bi-district playoff game," 20 Feb. 2018 This month, reflect on your personal values: What does fortitude mean to you? Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's August 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 July 2018 Coffman has demonstrated both independence and political fortitude in refusing to cower in the face of the demands of the Big Telecom lobby, instead siding with those he was elected to serve. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Bill to save net neutrality gets first Republican vote in US House," 17 July 2018 His homage to Barbara's renowned fortitude also echoed a similar sentiment shared by his son in 41: A Portrait of My Father. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "George H.W. Bush Has Died at Age 94," 1 Dec. 2018 Many Americans demonstrated bravery and fortitude in the frozen-mud swamps and pine forests around Archangel. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "The One Time American Troops Fought Russians Was at the End of World War I—and They Lost," 9 Nov. 2018 Some people exude resilience and fortitude in the midst of adversity. New York Times, "Flying Close to Temptation," 20 Apr. 2018

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

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fortitude

Middle English, from Latin fortitudin-, fortitudo, from fortis — see fortify

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Last Updated

25 May 2019

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Time Traveler for fortitude

The first known use of fortitude was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for fortitude

fortitude

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fortitude

formal : mental strength and courage that allows someone to face danger, pain, etc.

fortitude

noun
for·​ti·​tude | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce fortitude (audio) , -ˌtyüd\

Kids Definition of fortitude

: strength of mind that lets a person meet danger, pain, or hardship with courage

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Comments on fortitude

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