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 plural About 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

The two-story house, built without permits, lacked earthquake reinforcements, even though Casamicciola sits on a dormant volcano in a zone susceptible to mudslides and quakes. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Italy Allows Illegal Homes to Be Rebuilt, Earthquake Zone or Not," 2 Mar. 2019 And Chelsea, in particular, having struggled to add depth to their full back positions due to the volume of competitions they were involved in last season, are believed to still be looking to bring in reinforcements ahead of next term. SI.com, "Chelsea & Liverpool Handed Transfer Boost as Porto Reject Offers from Bayern & Juve for Alex Telles," 10 July 2018 Even the strongest social support network could use some reinforcements, like the social workers most cancer centers have on staff, Dr. Westin says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "11 Things to Know After Receiving an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis," 14 Dec. 2018 Then a third, named Cher Ami, was sent up with a message to bring back reinforcements and to get the Americans' own side to stop firing on them. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Pigeons Are Actually the Most Magnificent Bird," 20 Nov. 2018 Turkey sent reinforcements of its troops ringing Idlib, but stands little to gain from an eventual battle launched by Syria’s Russia- and Iran-backed government forces. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "Syria: Everyone else’s battleground, in both war and peace," 25 Sep. 2018 Emery clearly believes that the Gunners' defence is in dire need of reinforcements - hence the arrivals of Switzerland full back Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus, and of Greece centre back Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund. SI.com, "Arsenal Linked With Young Bundesliga Star as Unai Emery Seeks to Rebuild the Gunners' Defence," 9 July 2018 The hairspray makes the pin hold to your prom hair for extra reinforcement. 2. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018 Active coping mechanisms include problem-solving or positive reinforcement. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "To Survive Antarctica, Scientists Enter a Kind of 'Psychological Hibernation'," 5 Dec. 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reinforcement

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

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More Definitions for reinforcement

reinforcement

noun

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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