bolt

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
a
: a lightning stroke
also : thunderbolt
b
: a shaft or missile designed to be shot from a crossbow or catapult
especially : a short stout usually blunt-headed arrow
2
a
: 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: the part of a lock that is shot or withdrawn by the key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 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
4
: a roll of cloth or wallpaper of specified length
5
: a metal cylinder that drives the cartridge into the chamber of a firearm, locks the breech, and usually contains the firing pin and extractor
6
a
: a block of timber to be sawed or cut
b
: a short round section of a log

Illustration of bolt

Illustration of bolt
  • bolt 3

bolt

2 of 5

verb (1)

bolted; bolting; bolts

intransitive verb

1
: to move suddenly or nervously : start
2
: to move or proceed rapidly : dash
3
a
: to break away from control or a set course
b
: to dart off or away : flee
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

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

bolt

3 of 5

adverb

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

bolt

4 of 5

noun (2)

: the act or an instance of bolting

bolt

5 of 5

verb (2)

bolted; bolting; bolts

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

Adverb She sat bolt upright, staring straight ahead.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun (1)

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

Verb (1)

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

Adverb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near bolt

Cite this Entry

“Bolt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bolt. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

bolt

1 of 3 noun
1
: a missile (as an arrow) for a crossbow or catapult
2
a
: a lightning stroke : thunderbolt
b
: a sudden surprise
a bolt from the blue
3
: a sliding bar used to fasten a door
4
: the part of a lock worked by a key
5
: a metal pin or rod usually with a head at one end and a screw thread at the other that is used to hold something in place
6
: a roll of cloth or wallpaper
7
: the device that closes the breech of a firearm

bolt

2 of 3 verb
1
: to move suddenly or nervously
2
: to move rapidly : dash
reporters bolted for the door
3
: run away sense 1
the horse shied and bolted
4
: to break away from or oppose one's political party
5
: to say thoughtlessly : blurt
6
: to fasten with a bolt
7
: to swallow hastily or without chewing
bolter noun

bolt

3 of 3 noun
: an act of bolting

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