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

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 winning software also did not use reinforcement learning, which is when an A.I. system learns from experience how to maximize a reward. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 11 Jan. 2022 Even a restoration of the original pier would require exterior steel and concrete reinforcement of the narrow columns that hold up the deck, which would affect the appearance. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2022 Also, trends in deep reinforcement learning could have dramatic implications for agency operations. Ron Schmelzer, Forbes, 30 Oct. 2021 This growth has even outpaced the larger and more established field of reinforcement learning, which in recent years has attracted widespread attention. Scientific American, 19 Oct. 2021 Early efforts at training robots with reinforcement learning split the process across several real-world robots. Will Knight, Wired, 8 Oct. 2021 Biden warns of sanctions, an end to pipeline construction, and reinforcement of NATO allies in Eastern Europe. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 11 Dec. 2021 Musical theater pushing the limits of artistic license, sure, but also a profound reinforcement of the idea that young people’s voices matter. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 2 Dec. 2021 Access to the right learning and growth opportunities that focus on potential and not just the current role can be the most substantial reinforcement of retention strategies. Ritu Anand, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for reinforcement

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

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Dictionary Entries Near reinforcement

reinforced concrete

reinforcement

reinforcer

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Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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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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