fortitude


fortitude
fortitude, grit, backbone, pluck, guts, sand denote a quality of character combining courage and staying power.
Fortitude stresses strength of mind and firmness of purpose; it implies endurance, often prolonged endurance, of physical or mental hardships or suffering without giving way under the strain
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the man's courage is loved by the woman, whose fortitude again is coveted by the man— Coleridge

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for years he led a life of unremitting physical toil and mental anxiety combined with miserable health—no small test of fortitudeBuchan

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Grit also implies strength and firmness of mind, but it stresses an incapacity for being downed by difficulties or hardships and usually also suggests both a willingness to suffer the privation and pain necessary to the attainment of one's ends and the fortitude to bear them
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it is grit that tells in the long run

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instances of men rising from the lower ranks of society into the most highly remunerated positions in the business world are sufficiently numerous to support the belief that brains and grit can always "make good"—Hobson

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Backbone emphasizes resoluteness of character; it implies either the ability to stand up in the face of opposition for one's principles or one's chosen objectives, or determination and independence that require no support from without
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in spite of all his gifts, he did not have the backbone necessary to a good states- man

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when mob hysteria prevails, then, if ever, backbone is needed in our legislators

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like conscience-stricken dogs they lost backbone, and visibly were in a condition to submit to anything— Kenneth Roberts

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Pluck implies a willingness to fight or continue fighting against odds; thus, it is pluck that keeps a sick person at work; it is pluck that keeps soldiers from retreating in the face of disaster
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the energy, fortitude, and dogged perseverance that we technically style pluckLytton

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decay of English spirit, decay of manly pluckThackeray

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Guts, which is often considered expressive but not entirely polite and is therefore sometimes facetiously replaced by intestinal fortitude, stresses possession of the physical and mental vigor essential both to facing something which repels or frightens one and to putting up with the hardships it imposes
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he hasn't the guts to be a successful surgeon

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they used men with guts for the East African missions

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what bothered him was not the superzealot attackers so much as the lack of plain old-fashioned guts on the part of the people who give in to them— Davis

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Sand comes close to grit in its meaning, but since it often carries a suggestion of pluck or of the ability to fight against odds, it does not so strongly as grit connote triumph over difficulties
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no more pride than a tramp, no more sand than a rabbit— Mark Twain

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Analogous words: *courage, mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity: bravery, courageousness, intrepidity, dauntlessness, valor- ousness (see corresponding adjectives at BRAVE)
Antonyms: pusillanimity
Contrasted words: timidity, timorousness (see corresponding adjectives at TIMID)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fortitude — • One of the gifts from the Holy Ghost is a supernatural virtue Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Fortitude     Fortitude     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • fortitude — ⇒FORTITUDE, subst. fém. Littér. Force morale, fermeté d âme. À Milan surtout presque tout le peuple témoigna une grande constance et beaucoup de fortitude (LAS CASES, Mémor. Ste Hélène, t. 1, 1823, p. 539) : • Comment le malheur agit il sur les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Fortitude — For ti*tude, n. [L. fortitudo, fr. fortis strong. See {Fort}.] 1. Power to resist attack; strength; firmness. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The fortitude of the place is best known to you. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. That strength or firmness of mind which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fortitude — [fôrt′ə to͞od΄, fôrt′ətyo͞od΄] n. [ME < L fortitudo < fortis, strong: see FORT1] the strength to bear misfortune, pain, etc. calmly and patiently; firm courage SYN. PATIENCE fortitudinous [fôr΄təto͞od′ n əs, fôr΄tətyo͞od′ n əs] adj. SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • fortitude — early 15c., from M.Fr. fortitude, from L. fortitudo strength, force, firmness, from fortis strong, brave (see FORT (Cf. fort)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • fortitude — index composure, longanimity, resignation (passive acceptance), spirit, sufferance, tolerance Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • fortitude — s. f. [Pouco usado] Força; fortaleza …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • fortitude — [n] strength of mind; guts backbone*, boldness, braveness, bravery, constancy, courage, courageousness, dauntlessness, determination, endurance, fearlessness, firmness, grit*, gutsiness, hardihood, heart, intrepidity, mettle, moxie, nerve,… …   New thesaurus

  • fortitude — ► NOUN ▪ courage and strength in bearing pain or trouble. ORIGIN Latin fortitudo, from fortis strong …   English terms dictionary

  • fortitude — n. 1) to demonstrate, display, show fortitude 2) (humorous) intestinal fortitude ( great courage ) 3) moral fortitude 4) the fortitude to + inf. (they had enough fortitude to finish the job) * * * [ fɔːtɪtjuːd] display show fortitude moral… …   Combinatory dictionary


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