bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio) \

Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long pillow or cushion
2 : a structural part designed to eliminate friction or provide support or bearing (see bearing sense 5)


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

Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

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 details— Stanley Levey
2 : to give a boost to news that bolstered his spirits

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Other Words from bolster


bolsterer \ ˈbōl-​stər-​ər How to pronounce bolsterer (audio) \ noun

Examples of bolster in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The steel liners are covered with aluminum bolsters and glass reinforced polymer scales. Matt Foster, Outdoor Life, "The Best Knives of SHOT Show 2020," 31 Jan. 2020 Cloth or leather contoured seats feature adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon: Part truck and mountain goat," 15 Nov. 2019 The 20-way adjustable driver seat has width-adjusting bolsters and lumbar support with power air cells. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kia K900: A crazy-rich VIP for the middle class," 6 Oct. 2019 The eight-way power front seats are dynamically comfortable, with side bolster adjustments, despite no seat-bottom tilt. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2020 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400: treading a thin line," 13 Oct. 2019 The deal, which includes no physical winery or vineyard, is a big bolster for Gallo’s premium holdings. Esther Mobley,, "Why human beings love wine, according to Warren Winiarski: “completeness”," 21 Nov. 2019 Inside, Wrangler Black & Tan features a Wizard Black painted instrument panel mid bolster and Heritage Tan cloth seats. Houston Chronicle, "Good news for Jeep enthusiasts," 13 Sep. 2019 The front sport seats, with serious side and cushion bolsters, are firmly supportive with long thigh support. Mark Maynard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 VW Arteon: a cure for the common sedan," 6 Sep. 2019 Even the seat-cushion bolsters are low enough to not give an annoying wedgie on entry or exit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "550-hp Jaguar F-Pace SVR: all claws, fangs and growl in a velvet coat," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vacating office space in the 1930s-era Landmark Office Towers at nearby Tower City Center could make way for Landmark’s conversion to apartments that bolster downtown’s residential population of 18,800. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Sherwin-Williams’ new HQ should create positive ripples in Public Square, downtown Cleveland," 6 Feb. 2020 Town said the partial closing of Holman further bolsters that point. Mike Cason |, al, "Alabama prison crowding worsens 10 months after DOJ allegations," 30 Jan. 2020 But Schumer argued that this bolstered the call by Democrats and House impeachment managers for witnesses with firsthand knowledge to testify and additional documents to be entered as evidence. NBC News, "Schiff claims Trump's lawyers 'do not contest' the facts in the impeachment trial," 25 Jan. 2020 Democrats said the supplemental testimony, which is classified, bolsters their impeachment case. Author: Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker, Zeke Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "Democrats focus Day 2 of impeachment trial on alleged abuse of power by Trump," 23 Jan. 2020 Van Drew on Wednesday broke with his party and voted against impeaching Trump — a move that bolstered GOP attempts to depict Democrats as divided on the matter. Jill Colvin, Twin Cities, "Trump celebrates Rep. Van Drew’s switch from Democrat to GOP," 19 Dec. 2019 At the time, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was hoping for a coveted White House meeting that would bolster his standing with Ukraine’s most important ally. Time, "Majority of House Supports President Trump's Impeachment: AP," 18 Dec. 2019 There must be some value beyond the rules themselves—call it civility, fair play, virtues—that can bolster the system under extreme threat. Noam Cohen, Wired, "The TV Show ‘Survivor’ Can Help Us Understand Impeachment," 17 Dec. 2019 Two months later, in June, the Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a separate case that bolstered Plotkin’s lawsuit. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Taxpayers are out $26,500 in lawsuit after GOP legislators try to hold back digital copies of records," 27 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of bolster


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


1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bolster

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for bolster

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bolster

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bolster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bolster


How to pronounce bolster (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long bag of cloth completely filled with soft material : a long pillow or cushion



English Language Learners Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) stronger or better : to give support to (something)


bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio) \

Kids Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long pillow or cushion sometimes used to support bed pillows


bolstered; bolstering

Kids Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

: to support with or as if with a bolster We tried to bolster their courage.
bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər \

Legal Definition of bolster

: to use evidence usually improperly to give weight to (evidence already introduced)

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More from Merriam-Webster on bolster

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bolster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bolster

Spanish Central: Translation of bolster

Nglish: Translation of bolster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bolster for Arabic Speakers

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