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

The mental fortitude that must have been required to persevere through this testing period was testament to Robson's character as a man, as well as a football manager., "Sir Bobby Robson: 6 of His Best Moments During a Truly Magnificent Managerial Career," 31 July 2019 Lovelace also wanted to test the women’s mental fortitude. National Geographic, "Episode 7: The Glass Stratosphere," 23 July 2019 That mental fortitude was on display again during Friday’s third round match, where the 15-year-old survived two match points to stage a stunning comeback against Slovenia's Polona Hercog. NBC News, "Coco Gauff's parents tell their Wimbledon star teen: 'Go out and see how good you can be'," 8 July 2019 The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Redskins QB Alex Smith sheds bulky brace on injured right leg," 15 July 2019 Her altruism, devotion to family, fortitude, and resolute faith will be immensely missed and cherished in the hearts and rehearsed in the minds of her family, friends, and church community., "Fanchon Alise Hooker," 12 June 2019 Combine his mental fortitude with his physical gifts, and there’s a reason why, when the lights are brightest, Koepka has been this game’s most dominating figure since Woods’ prime. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "3M Open: Brooks Koepka is the best golfer in the world. But can he win on an ‘easy course’?," 3 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter Mr Imamoglu’s fortitude is hard to overstate. The Economist, "Opponents of Turkey’s erratic president should try harder," 29 June 2019 Technology has allowed for great strides in transparency — if the government has the fortitude to use it. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Carroll asks that council consider camera system," 6 June 2019

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

17 Aug 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



English Language Learners Definition of fortitude

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


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

What made you want to look up fortitude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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