fortitude

noun
for·​ti·​tude | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd, -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

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 Your country has demonstrated its fortitude and resilience by rebuilding your communities following the devastating Cyclone Winston two years ago. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Recalls Queen Elizabeth's Visits to Fiji in His Speech at Tonight's State Dinner," 23 Oct. 2018 There will be three teams in Russia with enough talent, depth, fortitude and pedigree to win–Germany, Spain and France. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Who Will Win the 2018 World Cup? SI's Expert Predictions and Knockout Brackets," 4 June 2018 There are plenty of questions about his size, defensive fortitude, and ability to finish in traffic. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Five targets for Sixers at No. 10, starting with Mikal Bridges | David Murphy," 15 May 2018 The staple of this argument seems to be that against both Uruguay and the Red Devils, Les Blues out-thought and out-muscled their opponents with defensive fortitude, whilst retaining the attacking bite that their glut of forwards portend to. SI.com, "Why Didier Deschamps Is Still a Problem Regardless of Leading France to the World Cup Final," 12 July 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

5 Jan 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

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

fortitude

noun
for·​ti·​tude | \ ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Kids Definition of fortitude

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

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