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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web After grappling with the issue for a decade, Google is calling in some reinforcements. Wired, "Google Enlists Outside Help to Clean Up Android's Malware Mess," 6 Nov. 2019 But soon after security forces nabbed him on October 17th, reinforcements from the family business arrived. The Economist, "Lessons from a shootout in Sinaloa," 24 Oct. 2019 The reinforcements arrived in many forms this offseason for the New York Rangers, whether in free agency (star winger Artemi Panarin, college defenseman Adam Fox), trade (defenseman Jacob Trouba) or draft (No. 2 pick Kakko). The Si Staff, SI.com, "Roundtable: Storylines, Surprises and Disappointments for 2019–20 NHL Season," 29 Sep. 2019 On Thursday, Turkey sent a convoy of reinforcements consisting of armored vehicles, personnel, personnel carriers and ammunition to its observation posts in Idlib, Anadolu Agency reported, without providing further details. SFChronicle.com, "Syrian government opens corridor for civilians in rebel area," 22 Aug. 2019 But rotational reinforcements have arrived; Homer Bailey landed in Oakland around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and met with reporters an hour later. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Stephen Piscotty, Sean Manaea eyeing returns; Homer Bailey arrives," 16 July 2019 The group of men waited a while for reinforcements, and around 7:30, found the hidden children. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "Family of 'Hero' Boy, 13, Who Survived Attack in Mexico That Killed Mom Speaks Out," 11 Nov. 2019 The value of WR Emmanuel Sanders and CB Chris Harris Jr., who would be coveted by contenders such as the Packers and Eagles looking for reinforcements. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Broncos return to their bungling ways; is rebuild next?," 18 Oct. 2019 However, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad thin on attacking options after letting Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez go, there looks to be a need for reinforcements. SI.com, "Juventus Chief Confirms Club Open to Selling Mario Mandzukic Amid Rumoured Man Utd Deal," 16 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of reinforcement

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reinforcement

Time Traveler for reinforcement

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

See more words from the same year

Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 10 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on reinforcement

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to state or do over again or repeatedly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!