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 details Stanley 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
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 This set of cushions, which comes with 4 flat base cushions and 2 bolster rectangles, can be used to build everything from forts, to houses, to rocket ships. Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 18 Aug. 2022 The dual-bolster cushion feels especially comfortable and cooling. Rachel Dube, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum, a graphic, fringed bolster is the perfect accent to this kids room by JDK Interiors, where a colorful mural enlivens the walls. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 21 Oct. 2022 And its sloped bolster will give you the perfect pinch grip for better comfort and control. Wilder Davies, Bon Appétit, 12 Oct. 2022 The seat backs, bolster pillows, and seats are filled with feather down. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Sep. 2022
Verb
Justin Verlander had a meeting with the Dodgers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, marking the team’s latest effort to woo the free-agent superstar and bolster its rotation. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 Cyber volunteerism can also bolster the team as a whole, said Ms. Rosso. Catherine Stupp, WSJ, 26 Nov. 2022 Gordon points out that some people may actually benefit from the opposite scenario: A recent brush with SARS-CoV-2 could bolster the body’s immune defenses against a second respiratory invader for a few days or weeks. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 23 Nov. 2022 Details like that are meant to convey his commitment and bolster his credibility, but journalism is not junior high school. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022 Film Bazaar will represent an opportunity for the project to add co-producers and bolster its funding. Udita Jhunjhunwala, Variety, 20 Nov. 2022 As the war progressed, Ukraine and Russia each used the railways to further their attacks and bolster their defenses. Sarah A. Topol, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2022 In interviews, the newcomers cited plans to boost affordable housing and pedestrian safety and road quality, bolster the county’s mental and behavioral health resources, restore jobs lost in the pandemic and improve wages. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2022 Successive efforts to win a seat in parliament failed, until Netanyahu began brokering far-right alliances to maximize their vote share and bolster his own electoral prospects. Neri Zilber, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Nov. 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 4 Dec. 2022.

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

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