reinforcement

noun

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Dior teams are working intensely on ongoing reinforcements of the existing procedures. Joelle Diderich, WWD, 17 July 2024 The famously progressive Danish capital is working to attract the right kind of globetrotter with a little positive reinforcement. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 15 July 2024 Within hours, the head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management reached out to other police departments and reinforcements have already been coming to the city, Patrick said, including an additional 40 state troopers. Bethany Blankley | The Center Square Contributor, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 12 July 2024 Futures filled with hope and possibility For Wolf, positive reinforcement is the key. Allie Torgan, CNN, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for reinforcement 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reinforcement.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

Dictionary Entries Near reinforcement

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

reinforcement

noun
re·​in·​force·​ment ˌrē-ən-ˈfōr-smənt How to pronounce reinforcement (audio)
-ˈfȯr-
1
: the action of reinforcing : the state of being reinforced
2
: something that reinforces

Medical Definition

reinforcement

noun
re·​in·​force·​ment ˌrē-ən-ˈfōr-smənt, -ˈfȯr- How to pronounce reinforcement (audio)
: 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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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