Fortitude – The Word to Close out 2020

Published by Jared Kunz on

Every month or quarter or so I like to share the definition and maybe the background of a word (i.e. the etymology). This month’s word is Fortitude.

The definition of the word is strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.

Fortitude comes from the Latin word fortis, meaning “strong,” and in English it has always been used primarily to describe strength of mind. For a time, the word was also used to mean physical strength – Shakespeare used that sense in The First Part of King Henry the Sixth:

“Coward of France! How much he wrongs his fame
Despairing of his own arm’s fortitude.”

But despite use by the Bard, that second sense languished and is now considered obsolete.”

First Known Use of fortitude

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fortitude

Middle English, from Latin fortitudin-, fortitudo, from fortis — see FORTIFY

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