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.
Recent Examples on the Web Public schools, where children spend six hours of each of their weekdays, were long considered an invaluable reinforcement of personal self-discipline and character. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 Many locals are still waiting for the Dutch government - in charge of who gets damage and reinforcement aid, and how much - to definitively agree to claims, a process that for most residents has dragged on for years. Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2022 There’s no magic solution other than getting back to basics, reinforcement of principles and some post-practice punishment. oregonlive, 6 Sep. 2022 Johnson said the district employs a wide range of disciplinary approaches starting with relationship-building and positive reinforcement for good behavior. Claudette Riley, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2022 Astonishingly, in 2022, that basic civics lesson needs reinforcement. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 19 Aug. 2022 Moth is a sensitive dog who will benefit from positive reinforcement training in her new home. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 May 2022 Both the walls and floor are made of resin, with multi-wall panel construction and metal reinforcement on the walls to make sure both the elements and local fauna stay out. Rena Behar, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 Nonetheless, the mercenary network will remain a key reinforcement to Russia’s exhausted regular forces, only a shrinking proportion of which remain capable of offensive maneuver operations after a half-year of grinding warfare. Sebastien Roblin, Forbes, 15 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for reinforcement

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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