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.Synonyms: 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 ).
Origin: 1640–50; earlier fort < Middle French (see fort); disyllabic pronunciation by association with forte2
Can be confused: fort, forte (see pronunciation note at the current entry).
Pronunciation note 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 /fɔrt/Show Spelled[fawrt]Show IPA or /foʊrt/[fohrt] pronounced as the English word fort. The word is derived from the French word fort, meaning “strong.” A two-syllable pronunciation /ˈfɔrteɪ/[fawr-tey] is increasingly heard, especially from younger educated speakers, perhaps owing to confusion with the musical term forte, pronounced in English as /ˈfɔrteɪ/[fawr-tey] and in Italian as /ˈfɔrtɛ/[fawr-te]. Both the one- and two-syllable pronunciations of forte are now considered standard.
Popular references —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 1-2by 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 Beattransl. 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)
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.