Open main menu



From Old French fortifier


fortify (third-person singular simple present fortifies, present participle fortifying, simple past and past participle fortified)

  1. (military) To increase the defenses of; to strengthen and secure by military works; to render defensible against an attack by hostile forces. [from early 15th c.]
  2. (figuratively) To impart strength or vigor to.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Pride came to the aid of fancy, and both combined to fortify his resolution.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XXI, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
      “And do you realize that in a few shakes I've got to show up at dinner and have Mrs Cream being very, very kind to me? It hurts the pride of the Woosters, Jeeves.” “My advice, sir, would be to fortify yourself for the ordeal.” “How?” “There are always cocktails, sir. Should I pour you another?” “You should.”
  3. (wine) To add spirits to wine to increase the alcohol content. [from 1880]
    Sherry is made by fortifying wine.
  4. (food) To increase the nutritional value of food by adding ingredients. [from 1939]
    • 1979, Kiplinger's Personal Finance (volume 33, number 7, July 1979, page 47)
      Compare the nutrition information label of a regular ready-to-eat fortified cereal with that of a presweetened brand and you'll note that, although the sweetened one's sugar content is higher, the fortification is virtually identical.
    Soy milk is often fortified with calcium.


  1. (To strengthen military defenses): castellate, incastle, incastellate; see also strengthen and secure
  2. (To impart strength): See also Thesaurus:strengthen

Related termsEdit