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 pluralAbout 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 Things are starting to ramp up, and Lino has called in the reinforcements. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Find some of the best Hawaiian barbecue in town at this tiny central Phoenix restaurant," 23 Dec. 2019 The malaise that settled over Barcelona didn’t go away over the summer despite the club bringing in important reinforcements to add talent and depth. Joseph Wilson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Barcelona still reeling from Anfield collapse back in May," 22 Sep. 2019 The team used reinforcement learning, which borrows concepts from the psychology term by the same name. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Bad News for Dads: Robots Can Grill Hot Dogs Now," 23 Dec. 2019 Take reinforcement learning, one particularly potent flavor of AI that's behind some of the more stupendous demonstrations as of late. Matt Beane, Wired, "The Perils and Promise of Artificial Conscientiousness," 17 Dec. 2019 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Washington Post, "Dorian triggers massive flooding in Bahamas; at least 5 dead," 3 Sep. 2019 Prediction Bruins 5, Wild 2 The BRUINS (-222) are expected to get some reinforcements with the returns of D Torey Krug (upper body) and RW Brett Ritchie (infection). Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Minnesota Wild at Boston Bruins odds, picks and best bets," 23 Nov. 2019 UF’s defense is in the top five nationally in fewest points allowed and will get reinforcements ahead of its biggest test of the season. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF prepared for glare of spotlight when No. 7 Auburn visits No. 10 Gators," 30 Sep. 2019 Homes are required to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for those who can afford it. Washington Post, "Dorian triggers massive flooding in Bahamas; at least 5 dead," 3 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for reinforcement

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

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Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=r&file=reinfo03. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for reinforcement

reinforcement

noun
How to pronounce reinforcement (audio)

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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