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
  1. noun
    an act performed to strengthen approved behavior
    synonyms: reward
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    promise of reward as in "carrot and stick"
    type of:
    approval, approving, blessing
    the formal act of approving
  2. noun
    a military operation (often involving new supplies of men and materiel) to strengthen a military force or aid in the performance of its mission
    synonyms: reenforcement, support
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    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)
  3. noun
    a device designed to provide additional strength
    “he used gummed reinforcements to hold the page in his notebook”
    synonyms: strengthener
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    show 16 types...
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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
  4. noun
    information that makes more forcible or convincing
    “his gestures provided eloquent reinforcement for his complaints”
    synonyms: reenforcement
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    type of:
    information that confirms or verifies
  5. noun
    (psychology) a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it
    synonyms: reinforcer, reinforcing stimulus
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    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
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘reinforcement'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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