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 Stop slipping and sliding on your mat, and repurposing random pillows and towels as bolsters and makeshift straps. Popular Science, "Yoga accessories to help you practice smarter," 23 Apr. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the government has tried to prevent social instability by bolstering the safety net, said Albert Park, director of the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Betsy Joles, NBC News, "In China, four decades of economic growth screeches to a halt," 14 May 2020 This is not a big amount of money for the U.S., for bolstering this presence on the eastern flank. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Russian deterrence funds to Europe slashed to pay for border wall," 14 May 2020 In the Gates’s 2020 year-end letter, Melinda Gates wrote about the foundation’s relative success in bolstering access to health care in comparison to its struggles with supporting education. Annie Abrams, The New Republic, "A Privatization Fever Dream for Post-Crisis Public Education," 13 May 2020 The text of the bill, which spans more than 1,800 pages, includes assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay for frontline health care workers, forgiveness of student debt and bolstering Medicaid and Medicare. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House Democrats unveil massive new coronavirus relief bill ahead of Friday vote," 13 May 2020 Warsaw has made clear its focus this summer will be on bolstering domestic tourism, including a plan that would subsidize travel within the country for anyone earning below the national average wage. Melissa Eddy, New York Times, "Across Europe, Reopening Borders in Time for Summer," 13 May 2020 The Brewers, who had bolstered their 2011 team with a number of key roster acquisitions (Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Morgan, Jerry Hairston, Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito) began to disintegrate in 2012. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Nyjer Morgan's clutch single gives the Brewers a thrilling playoff series win," 7 May 2020 And last year, California became the first state in the U.S. to ban fur sales, which will bolster the demand for sustainable and innovative alternatives. Pj Smith,, "Ending The Fur Trade Could Help Prevent Future Pandemics," 7 May 2020 This could change: Reade’s story could be bolstered or undermined by her own testimony or other evidence. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "A Fair Examination of Tara Reade’s Allegation Can Strengthen the #MeToo Movement," 6 May 2020

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

3 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bolster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 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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