reinforcement

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noun re·in·force·ment \ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯrs-mənt\

Definition of reinforcement

  1. 1 :  the action of strengthening or encouraging something :  the state of being reinforced

  2. 2 :  something that strengthens or encourages something: such asa :  an addition of troops, supplies, etc., that augments the strength of an army or other military force —usually plural About 8 a.m. Soviet tanks and armored personnel carriers containing reinforcements approached the gorge from the right flank. — John Barronb :  something designed to provide additional strength (as in a weak area) a bridge in need of steel reinforcementsc :  a response to someone's behavior that is intended to make that person more likely to behave that way again positive/negative reinforcement

  3. 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

Examples of reinforcement in a Sentence

  1. We're outnumbered! Call for reinforcements!

  2. We need to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the front line.

  3. The bridge is in need of reinforcement.

  4. You should encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement.

Recent Examples of reinforcement from the Web

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.

First Known Use of reinforcement

1602


REINFORCEMENT Defined for English Language Learners

reinforcement

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noun

Definition of reinforcement for English Language Learners

  • reinforcements : 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 Defined for Kids

reinforcement

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noun re·in·force·ment \ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯr-smənt\

Definition of reinforcement for Students

  1. 1 :  people or things (as supplies) sent to help or support

  2. 2 :  the act of making something stronger or able to last longer The bridge is in need of reinforcement.


Medical Dictionary

reinforcement

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noun re·in·force·ment \ˌrē-ən-ˈfōr-smənt, -ˈfȯr-\

Medical Definition of reinforcement

  1. :  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 1



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