noun (1)
\ ˈbōlt \

Definition of bolt 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1a : a shaft or missile designed to be shot from a crossbow or catapult especially : a short stout usually blunt-headed arrow
b : a lightning stroke also : thunderbolt
2a : a wood or metal bar or rod used to fasten a door
b : the part of a lock that is shot or withdrawn by the key
3 : a roll of cloth or wallpaper of specified length
4 : a metal rod or pin for fastening objects together that usually has a head at one end and a screw thread at the other and is secured by a nut
5a : a block of timber to be sawed or cut
b : a short round section of a log
6 : a metal cylinder that drives the cartridge into the chamber of a firearm, locks the breech, and usually contains the firing pin and extractor


verb (1)
bolted; bolting; bolts

Definition of bolt (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

1 : to move suddenly or nervously : start
2 : to move or proceed rapidly : dash
3a : to dart off or away : flee
b : to break away from control or a set course
4 : to break away from or oppose one's previous affiliation (as with a political party or sports team)
5 : to produce seed prematurely

transitive verb

1a archaic : shoot, discharge
b : flush, start bolt rabbits
2 : to say impulsively : blurt
3 : to secure with a bolt bolt the door
4 : to attach or fasten with bolts
5 : to eat hastily or without chewing bolted his breakfast
6 : to break away from or refuse to support (something, such as a political party)



Definition of bolt (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : in an erect or straight-backed position : rigidly sat bolt upright
2 archaic : directly, straight


noun (2)

Definition of bolt (Entry 4 of 5)

: the act or an instance of bolting


verb (2)
bolted; bolting; bolts

Definition of bolt (Entry 5 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to sift usually through fine-meshed cloth bolt flour
2 archaic : sift sense 2

Illustration of bolt

Illustration of bolt

Noun (1)

bolt 4

In the meaning defined above

Examples of bolt in a Sentence


She sat bolt upright, staring straight ahead.

First Known Use of bolt

Noun (1)

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

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1577, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bolt

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German bolz crossbow bolt, and perhaps to Lithuanian beldėti to beat

Verb (2)

Middle English bulten, from Anglo-French buleter, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle High German biuteln to sift, from biutel bag, from Old High German būtil

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Dictionary Entries near bolt



bolster plate





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Time Traveler for bolt

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

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More Definitions for bolt



English Language Learners Definition of bolt

: with the back in a very straight position


\ ˈbōlt \

Kids Definition of bolt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a stroke of lightning : thunderbolt
2 : a sliding bar used to fasten a door
3 : the part of a lock worked by a key
4 : a metal pin or rod with a head at one end and a screw thread at the other that is used to hold something in place
5 : a roll of cloth or wallpaper


bolted; bolting

Kids Definition of bolt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move suddenly and rapidly She bolted from the room.
2 : to run away The horse shied and bolted.
3 : to fasten with a bolt Be sure to bolt the door.
4 : to swallow hastily or without chewing Don't bolt your food.

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More from Merriam-Webster on bolt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bolt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bolt

Spanish Central: Translation of bolt

Nglish: Translation of bolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bolt for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bolt

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