1 of 3


boot·​strap ˈbüt-ˌstrap How to pronounce bootstrap (audio)
: a looped strap sewed at the side or the rear top of a boot to help in pulling it on
bootstraps plural : unaided efforts
often used in the phrase by one's own bootstraps


2 of 3


: designed to function independently of outside direction : capable of using one internal function or process to control another
a bootstrap operation to load a computer
: carried out with minimum resources or advantages
bootstrap efforts


3 of 3


bootstrapped; bootstrapping

transitive verb

: to promote or develop by initiative and effort with little or no assistance
bootstrapped herself to the top
… turns out to be pretty talented at identifying and bootstrapping promising creative endeavors. Harry McCracken
bootstrapper noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
There are a host of traditions that this country could well do without — the singing of the national anthem before sporting events, legacy admissions to elite universities, the mythologizing of bootstrap success stories. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2022 The legal market in our state needs a real bootstrap approach from our state. A.j. Herrington, Forbes, 16 May 2022 These bootstrap CDAOs combine critical thinking, business acumen, and a solid understanding of problem-solving and decision-making using data. Joel Shapiro, Forbes, 22 June 2022 With such accolades, this bootstrap mentality then asks us to continue selling these myths to others, to use our story as evidence and encouragement for people on a similar journey. Giovanna Alcantar,, 14 June 2022 Tapas, which launched as a bootstrap startup in 2012, built a global audience that has racked up over 9.5 billion pageviews of 103,000 original series, mostly mobile-digital comics and light novels, primarily targeting young women age 18-24. Rob Salkowitz, Forbes, 19 May 2022 The same José Huizar once held up in Southern California political circles as a bootstrap success story, but who now serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of power. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2022 As detailed above, some companies will fit neatly into a category or market dynamic that clearly dictates taking either the bootstrap or venture route. Bill Fahey, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Operating on bootstrap financing, ED Times is keen on expanding its social media presence. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 14 Nov. 2021
To Accelerate User Adoption To bootstrap liquidity for the protocol, Arkadiko is launching with a generous liquidity mining program (also known as yield farming). Leeor Shimron, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 Tied to bootstrap narratives, success for these households is sometimes seen as seen as a bellwether for the nation’s success (or at least used as rhetoric in many U.S. elections). Chloe Berger, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2022 So Havre pushed Choreful to the top of his to-do list, took time off from his day job to bootstrap that launch into reality. Michaella Huck, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Today’s founders are in a better position to bootstrap their business than those of us who launched companies 20 years ago. Peter Pezaris, Fortune, 10 Aug. 2022 Anywhere leverages Tinkerbell to bootstrap the bare metal infrastructure to a point where Kubernetes can be installed. Janakiram Msv, Forbes, 6 July 2022 While large outdoor businesses hire public relations and marketing firms to do the heavy lifting, small outdoor businesses must be ready to bootstrap it. Alex Temblador, Outside Online, 30 Mar. 2021 There’s no correct way to bootstrap a business, go with your instinct and ignore the naysayers. Alison Coleman, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 Not everyone can bootstrap their business, and not every business should be bootstrapped. Carl Rodrigues, Forbes, 13 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bootstrap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



boot entry 3 + strap entry 1


from attributive use of bootstrap entry 1


derivative of bootstrap entry 1 or bootstrap entry 2

First Known Use


1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bootstrap was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near bootstrap

Cite this Entry

“Bootstrap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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