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 Red Devils have lost Ander Herrera, whilst both Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba could be on their way out, meaning midfield reinforcements will be high on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish list. SI.com, "Tiemoue Bakayoko Chased by Man Utd & PSG as Chelsea Await Frank Lampard's Opinion," 9 July 2019 The reinforcements are part of a larger request for nearly 20,000 troops that commanders in the region initially proposed last month. Mark Landler, New York Times, "U.S. Puts Iran on Notice and Weighs Response to Attack on Oil Tankers," 14 June 2019 Bullpen reinforcements will, most likely, be on the way as the trade deadline approaches. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Bullpen gives up four as Twins fall to Indians," 6 June 2019 About the newcomers The reinforcements have arrived. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU football scouting report: Defensive line depth not a concern," 11 Mar. 2019 The reinforcement is all the more insidious for being intermittent. Kate Bachelder Odell, WSJ, "It’s Not Too Late to Quit Social Media," 25 Jan. 2019 But with left tackle Andrew Whitworth now 36 and questions elsewhere along the front, reinforcements would be welcome. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Three and out: Los Angeles Rams' 2018 NFL draft needs, prospect fits," 19 Apr. 2018 Accordingly, the Alliance will have to rely on adequate infrastructure to allow for reinforcement if necessary. Declan Leary, National Review, "Trump’s Polish Defense Deal," 18 June 2019 With the airport secure, Richards called for reinforcements: soon, a battalion of British paratroopers arrived from Senegal. Janine Di Giovanni, The New York Review of Books, "Sierra Leone, 2000: A Case History in Successful Interventionism," 7 June 2019

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

16 Jul 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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