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PIE root

From Old French, from Latin fortitūdō ‎(bravery, strength), from fortis ‎(brave, strong).



fortitude ‎(plural fortitudes)

  1. Mental or emotional strength that enables courage in the face of adversity.
    • 1612, William Shakespeare, King Henry VIII, act 3, sc. 2:
      . . . I am able now, methinks,
      Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,
      To endure more miseries.
    • c. 1794, Jane Austen, Lady Susan, ch. 1:
      I shall soon have need for all my fortitude, as I am on the point of separation from my own daughter.
    • 1906, Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea, ch. 21:
      She may be saved by your efforts, by your resource and fortitude bearing up against the heavy weight of guilt and failure.
    • 2012 Jan. 30, Fareed Zakaria, "The Strategist," Time:
      Mitt Romney . . . charges that Obama is an appeaser who apologizes for America, lacks fortitude and is "tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced."
  2. (archaic) Physical strength.
    • 1604, William Shakespeare, Othello, act 1, sc. 3:
      DUKE OF VENICE: The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for
      Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best
      known to you.