re·​in·​force | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce reinforce (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
reinforced also reenforced; reinforcing also reenforcing; reinforces also reenforces

Definition of reinforce

transitive verb

1 : to strengthen by additional assistance, material, or support : make stronger or more pronounced reinforce levees reinforce the elbows of a jacket reinforce ideas
2 : to strengthen or increase by fresh additions reinforce our troops were reinforcing their pitching staff
3 : to stimulate (a subject, such as an experimental animal) by reinforcement (see reinforcement sense 3) also : to encourage (a response) by reinforcement

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Other Words from reinforce

reinforceable \ ˌrē-​ən-​ˈfȯr-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce reinforce (audio) \ adjective

Examples of reinforce in a Sentence

The captain sent out another squad to reinforce the troops. Our camp is reinforced with supplies flown in by helicopter. The levees will need to be reinforced. The bad weather forecast only reinforces our decision to leave early tomorrow. Some critics say that the movie reinforces negative stereotypes about the military. We do our best to reinforce good conduct in the classroom.
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Recent Examples on the Web These systems make determinations that directly shape lives, at the same time that they are embedded in organizations structured to reinforce histories of racial discrimination. Alex Hanna, Wired, "Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI," 31 Dec. 2020 For there is, amid all this, a generational opportunity for American citizens and their next president to reinforce democracy while saving lives. Ian Beacock, The New Republic, "Simply Talking About the Pandemic the Right Way Can Help Rebuild American Democracy," 24 Dec. 2020 The Dolphins signed two free agents on the offensive line – left guard Ereck Flowers and center Ted Karras – and drafted three linemen early to reinforce the offensive line, which struggled last season. Omar Kelly,, "Dolphins and Bengals are two rebuilding franchises headed in opposite directions," 5 Dec. 2020 For context, Minaj clearly brought this up to reinforce a long-running complaint that the Recording Academy consistently snubs exceptional Black artists. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nicki Minaj complains about losing a Grammy to Bon Iver in 2012. Twitter had some thoughts.," 26 Nov. 2020 The brass sconces by Glustin Luminaires feature Murano glass panels to reinforce the Italian midcentury theme present throughout the house. Jen Fernandez, House Beautiful, "Formarch Architecture Rescues a Run-Down Palm Springs Home," 18 Nov. 2020 The program will feature early childhood intervention professionals explaining how to use short stories with simple text and pictures to reinforce accepted and proper behavior for children ages 18 months to 6 years. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Bay High School selected as College Success Award winner: West Shore Chatter," 3 Nov. 2020 The string of announcements helped reinforce Europe as home to some the world’s toughest policies toward the technology industry. Adam Satariano, New York Times, "Big Fines and Strict Rules Unveiled Against ‘Big Tech’ in Europe," 15 Dec. 2020 Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer, along with former Obama Solicitor General Don Verrilli, arguing for the House of Representatives to uphold the ACA, sought to reinforce this focus on standing. Simon Lazarus, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Bait and Switch," 16 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reinforce.' 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 reinforce

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for reinforce

re- + inforce, alteration of enforce

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Learn More about reinforce

Time Traveler for reinforce

Time Traveler

The first known use of reinforce was in the 15th century

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Statistics for reinforce

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reinforce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for reinforce


How to pronounce reinforce (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reinforce

: to strengthen (a group of people) with new supplies or more people
: to strengthen (something, such as clothing or a building) by adding more material for support
: to encourage or give support to (an idea, behavior, feeling, etc.)


re·​in·​force | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯrs \
reinforced; reinforcing

Kids Definition of reinforce

1 : to strengthen with new supplies or more people Another squad reinforced the troops.
2 : to strengthen by adding more material for support The wall needs to be reinforced.


transitive verb
re·​in·​force | \ ˌrē-ən-ˈfō(ə)rs, -ˈfȯ(ə)rs How to pronounce reinforce (audio) \
reinforced; reinforcing

Medical Definition of reinforce

1 : to strengthen by additional material or support : make stronger reinforced with vitamins
2 : to stimulate (as an experimental animal or a student) by reinforcement also : to encourage (a response) by reinforcement

Other Words from reinforce

reinforceable \ -​ə-​bəl How to pronounce reinforce (audio) \ adjective

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