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

Conceding 54 Premier League goals last season, the Red Devils arguably need reinforcements even more desperately than Arsenal. SI.com, "Arsenal Talks for William Saliba Progressing Well as Saint-Étienne Set Demands for Transfer," 13 June 2019 Her first address to the company’s shareholders was a mix of humor and reinforcement. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "The biggest news from Elon Musk’s Tesla shareholder meeting," 12 June 2019 In one memorable scene, the U.S. president flicked what appeared to be a piece of dandruff off Macron’s lapel in front of White House photographers, an apparent visible reinforcement of the power dynamic at play. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "Trump and Macron planted a friendship tree. Now it’s dead.," 11 June 2019 But reinforcement of safety measures implemented over the past five years have minimized casualties, averaging two to five deaths a season—with no deaths in 2019 so far. Yana Wengel, Quartzy, "The deaths on Mount Everest prove adventure tourism is out of control," 11 June 2019 The Germans were said to have brought up armored reinforcements. Wes Gallagher, Houston Chronicle, "U.S. TROOPS CAPTURE MONTEBOURG," 9 June 2019 Khateby says reinforcements pushed the Taliban back and inflicted casualties, without giving exact figures. Fox News, "Taliban attack kills 14 militiamen in western Afghanistan," 8 June 2019 With Smith likely a longer-term absentee than just a few days, Hyde said the Orioles expected to bring reinforcements to Houston to begin that series. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles' Dwight Smith Jr. in concussion protocol, awaiting X-ray on shoulder after 'car wreck' collision with wall," 7 June 2019 The son of poor Kentucky tobacco farmers, Perry faced fierce fighting weeks after wading ashore at Omaha Beach as a reinforcement wave following the start of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky vet captured during D-Day invasion 75 years ago to receive France's highest honor," 29 May 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

18 Jun 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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