reinforcement

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

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

Graves wasn’t the only pitching reinforcement the Marlins called up in the wake of their 16-inning loss to the Giants the day before. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Marlins prospect acquired in Yelich trade thriving since scary moment at the plate," 9 July 2018 The Nicaraguan city of Masaya was an opposition stronghold until Mr. Ortega called in police reinforcements from Managua on June 19 and took it back. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Russia in Central America, Again," 8 July 2018 The campaign to make mandatory paid sick leave a reality in San Antonio just got some statistical reinforcement. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "New study boosts local campaign for paid sick leave," 19 May 2018 This time the Buckeyes will be getting reinforcements. Bill Landis, cleveland.com, "What Kam Williams' return from suspension means for the Buckeyes: Ohio State basketball analysis," 14 Feb. 2018 No sense worrying about that now.’’ The Cardinals soon will have reinforcements, with power-hitting shortstop Paul DeJong returning this weekend. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Heat is on the Cardinals - and manager Mike Matheny feels it the most," 4 July 2018 This creates an environment of understanding and positive reinforcement. Fortune, "Total Quality Logistics," 26 June 2018 Many of them are purposely designed to be like Skinner boxes—a constant stream of tiny reinforcements that can keep players glued to screens for hours. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "News / Technology / The Internet Video games are public enemy #1 . . . again," 19 June 2018 More news and notes ▪ The Marlins have three veteran reinforcements on the way as early as this weekend. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "After taking a top defender in the first round, how will the Dolphins play out Day 2? | Miami Herald," 27 Apr. 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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Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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

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

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

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- \

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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to reject or criticize sharply

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