reinforcement

noun
re·​in·​force·​ment | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯrs-mənt How to pronounce reinforcement (audio) \

Definition of reinforcement

1 : the action of strengthening or encouraging something : the state of being reinforced
2 : something that strengthens or encourages something: such as
a : an addition of troops, supplies, etc., that augments the strength of an army or other military force usually pluralAbout 8 a.m. Soviet tanks and armored personnel carriers containing reinforcements approached the gorge from the right flank.— John Barron
b : something designed to provide additional strength (as in a weak area) a bridge in need of steel reinforcements
c : a response to someone's behavior that is intended to make that person more likely to behave that way again positive/negative reinforcement
3 psychology : the action of causing a subject to learn to give or to increase the frequency of a desired response that in classical conditioning involves the repeated presentation of an unconditioned stimulus (such as the sight of food) paired with a conditioned stimulus (such as the sound of a bell) and that in operant conditioning involves the use of a reward following a correct response or a punishment following an incorrect response also : the reward, punishment, or unconditioned stimulus used in reinforcement

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Examples of reinforcement in a Sentence

“We're outnumbered! Call for reinforcements!” We need to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the front line. The bridge is in need of reinforcement. You should encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement.
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Recent Examples on the Web Johnson is the fifth new player, excluding bubble-reinforcement Burke, to join the Mavericks in the last three days. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Mavs acquire inside force James Johnson for Delon Wright, Justin Jackson in trade with Pistons and Thunder," 21 Nov. 2020 Hopefully world leaders will take some positive reinforcement from their success with syringes so far, and continue to plan ahead. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "Will there be enough syringes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines?," 15 Dec. 2020 An adult may respond to the act by smiling or laughing or cooing, too, an intuitive form of positive reinforcement that shows the baby how her behavior affects those around her. Alia Wong, USA TODAY, "COVID means more kids won't be ready for kindergarten. America's preschoolers are falling behind.," 4 Dec. 2020 These nurses, pulled from their standard duties, were thrown into full-time COVID-19 work—reinforcement troops for a long battle. Amy Mckeever, Photography, "10 unforgettable images from our Year in Pictures issue," 8 Dec. 2020 Callaway’s in-house supercomputer suggested that a skinny center supported by a system of reinforcement ridges would lead to faster ball speeds off the clubhead. Stan Horaczek And Rob Verger, Popular Science, "The 8 most exciting sports and outdoor products of 2020," 4 Dec. 2020 Games are a particularly good arena for a kind of A.I. training called reinforcement learning. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Know when to fold ’em: How a company best known for playing games used A.I. to solve one of biology’s greatest mysteries," 30 Nov. 2020 The Mavericks added more international reinforcement Wednesday night during the draft. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Mavericks add to roster’s international ranks with addition of top pick Josh Green," 18 Nov. 2020 This feels like a reinforcement of the stereotype that Black women exist to rescue and be in service to everyone but ourselves and our own interests. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Black women, as a group, maintain legacy of high political participation and activism," 15 Nov. 2020

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

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for reinforcement

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

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Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for reinforcement

reinforcement

noun
How to pronounce reinforcement (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reinforcement

: people and supplies that are sent to help or support an army, military force, etc.
: the act of strengthening or encouraging something
: a thing that strengthens or encourages something

reinforcement

noun
re·​in·​force·​ment | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯr-smənt How to pronounce reinforcement (audio) \

Kids Definition of reinforcement

1 : people or things (as supplies) sent to help or support
2 : the act of making something stronger or able to last longer The bridge is in need of reinforcement.

reinforcement

noun
re·​in·​force·​ment | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfōr-smənt, -ˈfȯr- How to pronounce reinforcement (audio) \

Medical Definition of reinforcement

: the action of causing a subject (as a student or an experimental animal) to learn to give or to increase the frequency of a desired response that in classical conditioning involves the repeated presentation of an unconditioned stimulus (as the sight of food) paired with a conditioned stimulus (as the sound of a bell) and that in operant conditioning involves the use of a reward following a correct response or a punishment following an incorrect response also : the reward, punishment, or unconditioned stimulus used in reinforcement — compare recruitment sense 1

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