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 secret to good behavior is constant reinforcement. Washington Post, 2 May 2021 Thistle works to break that barrier down by being that supportive reinforcement to help people through that difficult change. Simon Mainwaring, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 Muggles is a shy puppy and will need confidence building with positive reinforcement training. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 May 2021 Positive reinforcement will broaden your vision and reveal the path to success. Yec, Forbes, 11 May 2021 That sliver of land is about to get more than $30 million in reinforcement that also will add an expanse of salt marsh habitat to the shoreline. al, 10 May 2021 The mother who's credited with starting the trend in 2008 has since pushed back against the evolution of the parties and their reinforcement of gender binaries. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 25 Apr. 2021 Youssef responds well to one-on-one attention and positive reinforcement. Star Tribune, 28 Mar. 2021 This lack of opportunity creates dire effects on women that come in the form of a widened wage gap or reinforcement of stereotypes, often leading to generational impacts. Sara Nuñez, sun-sentinel.com, 25 Mar. 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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Learn More about reinforcement

Time Traveler for reinforcement

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforcement was in 1602

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Statistics for reinforcement

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reinforcement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reinforcement. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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