1 [fawrt, fohrt or for 1, fawr-tey]
a person's strong suit, or most highly developed characteristic, talent, or skill; something that one excels in: I don't know what her forte is, but it's not music. talent, skill, excellence, strength, strong point, specialty, proficiency; knack, bent.
the stronger part of a sword blade, between the middle and the hilt (opposed to foible ).

1640–50; earlier fort < Middle French (see fort); disyllabic pronunciation by association with forte2

fort, forte (see pronunciation note at the current entry).

In the sense of a person's strong suit (He draws well, but sculpture is his real forte ), the older and historical pronunciation of forte is the one-syllable [fawrt] or [fohrt] pronounced as the English word fort. The word is derived from the French word fort, meaning “strong.” A two-syllable pronunciation [fawr-tey] is increasingly heard, especially from younger educated speakers, perhaps owing to confusion with the musical term forte, pronounced in English as [fawr-tey] and in Italian as [fawr-te]. Both the one- and two-syllable pronunciations of forte are now considered standard.

—FORTE: An acronym for Fast On-orbit Rapid Recording of Transient Events, FORTE is a lightweight satellite orbiting earth since August 1997. It is the first satellite made of an all-composite structure, and was designed to test new technologies for monitoring compliance with arms control treaties.
—Forte: A character in the 1997 animated film Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. The actor Tim Curry provided the voice for Forte, who is a pipe organ.
—Kia Forte: A compact car manufactured by Kia Motors since 2008 and marketed worldwide.

“[George B.] McClellan is an intelligent engineer and officer, but not a commander to lead a great army in the field. To attack or advance with energy and power is not in him; to fight is not his forte.“
—Gideon Welles, from his diary entry for September 3, 1862, The Blue and the Gray: The Story of the Civil War as told by participants, Volumes 1-2 by Henry Steele Commager (1982)
“Who was he kidding? It wasn't his forte. He had no forte. That was his forte.“
—Stanley Elkin, “The Guest“ Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1965)
“Elegance, oratory, and women are his forte.“
—Luis Rafael Sánchez, Macho Camacho's Beat transl. by Gregory Rabassa (2001)
“[B]e sure to hold the sword comfortably in front of you with the forte (not the hilt) guarding your head.“
—Richard Lane, Swashbuckling: a step-by-step guide to the art of stage combat and theatrical swordplay (1999) Unabridged


2 [fawr-tey; Italian fawr-te] . Music.
(a direction in a musical score or part) loud; with force (opposed to piano ).
(a direction in a musical score or part) loudly.
a passage that is loud and played with force or is marked to be so. Abbr.: f

1715–25; < Italian < Latin fortis strong Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
forte1 (fɔːt, ˈfɔːteɪ)
1.  something at which a person excels; strong point: cooking is my forte
2.  fencing Compare foible the stronger section of a sword blade, between the hilt and the middle
[C17: from French fort, from fort (adj) strong, from Latin fortis]

forte2 (ˈfɔːtɪ)
adj, —adv
1.  f loud or loudly
2.  a loud passage in music
[C18: from Italian, from Latin fortis strong]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1640s, from Fr. fort "strong point (of a sword blade)," also "fort," from M.Fr. fort (see fort); final -e- added 18c. in imitation of It. forte "strong." Meaning "strong point of a person" is from 1680s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
forte [(fawr-tay)]

A musical direction meaning “to be performed loudly”; the opposite of piano.

Note: The common keyboard instrument the pianoforte (“piano” for short) got its name because it could play both soft and loud notes.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Determined to demonstrate his forte, he began making unglazed pots with even
  stranger contours.
Non-news stories about historians seems to be this reporter's forte.
Kept unchecked they increase al forte, but population growth is never unchecked.
Although he occasionally tried his hand at writing rhymed poetry, he soon
  recognized that this medium was not his forte.
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