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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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"; William Shakespeare used that sense in Henry VI, Part 1: "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
Recent Examples on the Web Their artistry, commitment, fortitude and their positivity and kindness is really unparalleled. Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 July 2022 Like the Jews of Europe, Palestinians now claim a 75-year legacy of fortitude founded on unspeakable suffering. Doris Bittar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 July 2022 Throughout each step of his career, Pottinger, now in his late 40s, has shown a marked streak of independence and fortitude. Peter Bergen, CNN, 21 July 2022 Will Lula have the patience and fortitude to insist on new environmental protections that agricultural lobbyists will assert hurt their ability to sustain growth? Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, 7 July 2022 And our school children, all of them, should be taught of the fortitude of Opal Lee, a true American icon. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 23 June 2022 Settlers sang their gratitude for the fortitude of the squat produce when wheat was reluctant to grow in the stony fields of New England. Kendra Nordin Beato, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Nov. 2021 That common-sense step required tremendous fortitude in the face of an unprecedented leak, protests at the justices’ homes, and even an assassination attempt on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The Editors, National Review, 1 July 2022 Plus, isn’t participation in sports not just about the medals but about the lessons in discipline, teamwork, grit and fortitude? Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fortitude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fortitude


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

More from Merriam-Webster on fortitude

Nglish: Translation of fortitude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fortitude for Arabic Speakers


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