One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1To give additional force to; to add to the strength, power, intensity, etc., of; to make stronger. Compare "reinforce" 3b. Now rare.
2To strengthen or increase (an army, etc.) by providing additional troops; = "reinforce"; (formerly also) †to strengthen (a military force) by replenishing supplies (obsolete). Also in extended use: to strengthen or increase (any group, party, etc.) by adding to the number.
3with object To add to the force or strength of (an argument, assertion, etc.); to make more powerful or compelling; (also) to provide support for or add substance to (an argument, point of view, etc.).
4with object To enforce (a law, rule, etc.) for a second or further time; to put into force again.
5with object To strengthen (a material thing) by incorporating additional support, thickness, etc.
6with object Psychology. To strengthen or support (a response, behaviour, etc.).
Late 15th century; earliest use found in Gilbert Hay (c1397–c1465), soldier and poet. From re- + enforce, partly after Middle French renforcer renforce. Compare reinforce, renforce, and see discussion at those entries.
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