The Meaning of Fortitude: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of fortitude? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word fortitude, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word fortitude mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and Dictionary, the word fortitude (pronounced ˈfɔr tɪˌtud) is a noun that refers to a person’s mental or emotional  strength, particularly in the face of some difficulty, adversity, or danger. If someone shows mental strength in the face of adversity, they could be said to have great fortitude. If someone stays positive through a long illness, they might be said to have mental fortitude. If someone is competing in a pie eating contest and they eat ten pies without vomiting, they could be said to have intestinal fortitude. There are many different types of fortitude, including mental fortitude and moral fortitude. This word is often used to refer to a neutral virtue that a person possesses, such as an inherent quality of bravery. Trying using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

Many different languages use words that are equivalent to the word fortitude to describe some mental or emotional strength. It is very interesting how different words end up with their translations based on the source and origin of each individual word. This list of translations for the word fortitude is provided by Word Sense.

  • German: innere Kraft‎ (fem.)/Stärke‎ (fem.), Standhaftigkeit‎ (fem.)
  • Greek: σθένος‎ (neut.), γενναιότητα‎ (fem.)
  • Maori: manawaroa‎, niwha‎, koromaki‎
  • Bulgarian: твърдост‎ (fem.), сила на духа‎
  • Swedish: tapperhet‎
  • Russian: си́ла духа‎ (fem.)
  • Turkish: metanet‎, sebat‎
  • Khmer: ចិត្ដអត់ធ្មត់‎ (jət ɑt tmʊət)
  • Dutch: taaiheid‎ (fem.), geesteskracht‎ (fem.), volharding‎ (fem.), volhardendheid‎ (fem.), vastberadenheid‎ (fem.), innerlijke kracht‎ (fem.)
  • French: fortitude‎ (fem.)
  • Finnish: mielenlujuus‎, lujuus‎, luonteenlujuus‎

What is the origin of the word fortitude?

According to Etymonline, the word fortitude has been used since the late 14th century to refer to some moral strength or courage. This word comes from the Latin fortitudo, which means strength or force. This comes from the Old Latin fortis, meaning strong or brave. The word has been used since the early 15th century to refer to physical strength. A related word to the ford fortitude is the adjective fortitudinous. 

How can the word fortitude be used in a sentence?

The word fortitude can be used in many different scenarios to describe people that have shown great mental or emotional strength. In this example, Julie’s quick thinking and bravery saved the children she was babysitting from a home invasion. She is being honored by her city, and the mayor presents her with an award in front of the town.

Mayor: Julie, our city thanks you for your immense bravery. Where did you find the fortitude to stand up to the man who was trying to break in? Why didn’t you run and hide with the children – you’re a child yourself at only thirteen!

Julie: I guess I just knew what I needed to do. I knew that the kids were scared, and I knew that if we went and hid, the guy would probably find us. There was no way I was going to be able to carry two toddlers if we left, so I did the only thing I could think of and played a sound effect of a big dog barking while I called 911. It’s like a coyote. I got loud, I got big, and I thought on my feet. 

Mayor: We are all so impressed with your fortitude. Please accept this medal of honor from the city. You deserve it.

Here, the mayor uses the word fortitude to refer to Julie’s mental and emotional strength. Although she did not show physical strength – she did not physically fight off the intruder – she showed immense mental bravery and skills. Here, Julie was very fortitudinous.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word fortitude?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word fortitude. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you want to expand your knowledge of the English language and if you want to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word fortitude is provided by Thesaurus

  • moxie
  • valor
  • guts
  • fearlessness
  • braveness
  • courageousness
  • boldness
  • strength of mind
  • constancy
  • tenacity
  • nerve
  • starch
  • firmness
  • patience
  • hardihood
  • true grit
  • valorousness
  • stomach
  • mettle
  • spine
  • pluck
  • grit
  • stick-to-itiveness
  • valiancy
  • resoluteness
  • stoutheartedness
  • pith
  • resolution
  • stamina
  • what it takes
  • determination
  • spirit
  • spunk
  • courage
  • backbone
  • staying power
  • intrepidity
  • heart
  • bravery
  • perseverance
  • endurance
  • gutsiness
  • dauntlessness

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite definition of the word fortitude, which are known as antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you want to try and expand your knowledge of the English language and grammar. This list of antonyms for the word fortitude is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • fear
  • cold feet
  • jitters
  • revulsion
  • cold sweat
  • funk
  • fright
  • reverence
  • aversion
  • recreancy
  • distress
  • timidity
  • apprehension
  • faintheartedness
  • doubt
  • dread
  • misgiving
  • qualm
  • foreboding
  • anxiety
  • alarm
  • terror
  • discomposure
  • nightmare
  • angst
  • scare
  • bête noire
  • disquietude
  • suspicion
  • tremor
  • presentiment
  • horror
  • dismay
  • uneasiness
  • concern
  • abhorrence
  • worry
  • creeps
  • phobia
  • awe
  • unease
  • agitation
  • chickenheartedness
  • despair
  • trembling
  • panic
  • cowardice
  • trepidation
  • consternation

Overall, the word fortitude is a noun that is used to refer to a person’s mental or emotional strength, particularly in the face of great adversity, danger, or other difficult circumstances. It is often thought of as an inherent quality that one possesses or shows.

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/fortitude
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/fear
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/fortitude#etymonline_v_11826
  4. https://www.wordsense.eu/fortitude/
  5. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fortitude
  6. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fortitude
  7. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/fortitude