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[ree-in-fawrs, -fohrs] /ˌri ɪnˈfɔrs, -ˈfoʊrs/
verb (used with object), reinforced, reinforcing.
to strengthen with some added piece, support, or material:
to reinforce a wall.
to strengthen (a military force) with additional personnel, ships, or aircraft:
to reinforce a garrison.
to strengthen; make more forcible or effective:
to reinforce efforts.
to augment; increase:
to reinforce a supply.
Psychology. to strengthen the probability of (a response to a given stimulus) by giving or withholding a reward.
something that reinforces.
a metal band on the rear part of the bore of a gun, where the explosion occurs.
Also, reenforce, re-enforce.
Origin of reinforce
1590-1600; re- + inforce, alteration of enforce
Related forms
reinforcer, noun
self-reinforcing, adjective
unreinforced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reinforce
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At that juncture came Gondomar sallying out from the western gate, with fresh troops to reinforce the defenders of the vallum.

    Annals of a Fortress E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • Then there came upon him to reinforce this want a burning sense of defeat.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Frequently she paused to recollect the motives that had prescribed this task, and to reinforce her purposes.

    Ormond, Volume I (of 3) Charles Brockden Brown
  • A regiment which had left Fort Colburne was said to be on the road to reinforce them.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • A body of from 200 to 250 Afghns were told off to reinforce him.

    The Bbur-nma in English Babur, Emperor of Hindustan
British Dictionary definitions for reinforce


verb (transitive)
to give added strength or support to
to give added emphasis to; stress, support, or increase: his rudeness reinforced my determination
to give added support to (a military force) by providing more men, supplies, etc
(psychol) to reward an action or response of (a human or animal) so that it becomes more likely to occur again
Derived Forms
reinforcement, noun
Word Origin
C17: from obsolete renforce, from French renforcer; see re- + inforceenforce
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for reinforce

c.1600, originally in military sense, from re- "again" + enforce (cf. re-enforce). Related: Reinforced; reinforcing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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reinforce in Medicine

reinforce re·in·force (rē'ĭn-fôrs')
v. re·in·forced, re·in·forc·ing, re·in·forc·es

  1. To give more force or effectiveness to something; strengthen.

  2. To reward an individual, especially an experimental subject, with a reinforcer subsequent to a desired response or performance.

  3. To stimulate a response by means of a reinforcer.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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