Reinforcement is a way to learn and remember things, like a student who repeats the facts he has studied for a test over and over, or the ways we praise children when they share their toys or say "please" and "thank you" — reinforcement of the good manners we want them to use.

You’ll often hear the word reinforcement used in relation to a building or other structure that gets additional mechanical support, but the word can be used in a broader sense as well. In addition to strengthening walls, reinforcement can refer to the strengthening or propping up of an argument or a particular point of view. For example, if you show up in class every day and ask questions, that adds reinforcement to the notion that you’re a diligent student.

Definitions of reinforcement

n an act performed to strengthen approved behavior

promise of reward as in "carrot and stick"
Type of:
approval, approving, blessing
the formal act of approving

n a military operation (often involving new supplies of men and materiel) to strengthen a military force or aid in the performance of its mission

reenforcement, support
close support
close-in firing by one unit against an enemy engaged by another unit
Type of:
military operation, operation
activity by a military or naval force (as a maneuver or campaign)

n a device designed to provide additional strength

“he used gummed reinforcements to hold the page in his notebook”
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backing, mount
something forming a back that is added for strengthening
brace, bracing
a structural member used to stiffen a framework
a support that steadies or strengthens something else
safety arch
an undecorated arch that is included in order to strengthen or support a construction
ankle brace
a brace worn to strengthen the ankle
back brace
a brace worn to support the back
a transverse brace
gusset, gusset plate
a metal plate used to strengthen a joist
guy, guy cable, guy rope, guy wire
a cable, wire, or rope that is used to brace something (especially a tent)
knee brace
a brace worn to strengthen the knee
neck brace
a brace worn to steady the neck
a brace that extends from the rear of the keel to support the rudderpost
(nautical) brace consisting of a heavy rope or wire cable used as a support for a mast or spar
brace consisting of a longitudinal member to strengthen a fuselage or hull
brace consisting of a bar or rod used to resist longitudinal compression
crosstie, railroad tie, sleeper, tie
one of the cross braces that support the rails on a railway track
Type of:
an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose

n information that makes more forcible or convincing

“his gestures provided eloquent reinforcement for his complaints”
Type of:
information that confirms or verifies

n (psychology) a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it

reinforcer, reinforcing stimulus
positive reinforcer, positive reinforcing stimulus
a reinforcing stimulus that serves to increase the likelihood of the response that produces it
negative reinforcer, negative reinforcing stimulus
a reinforcing stimulus whose removal serves to decrease the likelihood of the response that produced it
Type of:
input, stimulant, stimulation, stimulus
any stimulating information or event; acts to arouse action

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