bolster

1 of 2

noun

bol·​ster ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio)
1
: a long pillow or cushion
2
: a structural part designed to eliminate friction or provide support or bearing (see bearing sense 5)

bolster

2 of 2

verb

bolstered; bolstering ˈbōl-st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce bolster (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to support with or as if with a bolster : reinforce
lay bolstered up in bed
extra men will bolster already augmented dock detailsStanley Levey
2
: to give a boost to
news that bolstered his spirits
bolsterer noun

Example Sentences

Verb She came with me to bolster my confidence. a convincing argument that was bolstered by the speaker's reputation She is thinking of ways to bolster her career.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Most chef’s knives are either 8 or 10 inches long, from the bolster (where the blade meets the handle) to the tip of the blade. Katie Workman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Jan. 2023 An unexpected bolster in sales, as well as a busy Thanksgiving week, helped the longest-running show in Broadway history earn $2.2 million in sales last week, according to The New York Times. Marianne Garvey, CNN, 29 Nov. 2022 The bolster also helps nervous dogs feel comforted and assured. Dallas News, 22 Dec. 2022 After 10 minutes trying to remove their handiwork with a bolster, my eyes fell on the shuttered science building. George Bass, Discover Magazine, 23 Aug. 2021 With upholstered tufting and a bolster pillow, the vibrant daybed makes a cozy spot for lounging or napping. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Oct. 2022 That’s because vast amounts of cash come with an array of decisions, each with the potential to squander or invest the money, increase or decrease happiness, and bolster or torpedo close relationships. Beth Decarbo, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2022 Gabriel Hendifar, artistic director and CEO of the design studio Apparatus, covered the walls of his Manhattan bedroom with rich, velvet-like fabric that contrasts with the plush bedcover and bolster by Zak+Fox. Bebe Howorth, ELLE Decor, 8 Sep. 2022 Fun patterned accessories—like the lampshade and bolster pillow—bring personality to what would otherwise be a pass-through space. Andrea Cooley, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Aug. 2022
Verb
Virus experts advising the federal government backed proposals to bolster oversight of research that could make pathogens more dangerous or contagious. Liz Essley Whyte, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2023 SpaceX fired a new GPS satellite into orbit on behalf of the US military on Wednesday, continuing an effort to bolster the constellation of global positioning and navigation satellites that underpin smartphone apps, wartime operations and more. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 18 Jan. 2023 Rather, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to bolster oversight of the presidency. Time, 30 Dec. 2022 Rather, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to bolster oversight of the presidency. The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Dec. 2022 Rather, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to bolster oversight of the presidency. Michael R. Sisak, Fortune, 30 Dec. 2022 Rather, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to bolster oversight of the presidency. Michael R. Sisak, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Dec. 2022 Rather, it is seen as a starting point for future efforts to bolster oversight of the presidency. Dallas News, 30 Dec. 2022 But in an effort to bolster a sense of community around events more inclusive than motorsports, the Rolls-Royce–themed escape was introduced into this expansive landscape. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 27 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bolster.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English belg bag — more at belly

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bolster was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bolster

Cite this Entry

“Bolster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bolster. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

bolster

1 of 2 noun
bol·​ster ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio)
1
: a long pillow or cushion
2
: a structural part designed to eliminate friction or provide support

bolster

2 of 2 verb
bolstered; bolstering -st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce bolster (audio)
: to support with or as if with a bolster
also : reinforce
came with me to bolster my spirits
bolsterer noun

Legal Definition

bolster

transitive verb
bol·​ster
ˈbōl-stər
: to use evidence usually improperly to give weight to (evidence already introduced)

More from Merriam-Webster on bolster

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY