\ ˈjōlt How to pronounce jolt (audio) \

Definition of jolt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an abrupt, sharp, jerky blow or movement awoke with a jolt
2a(1) : a sudden feeling of shock, surprise, or disappointment the news gave them a jolt
(2) : an event or development causing such a feeling the defeat was quite a jolt
b : a serious setback or reverse a severe financial jolt
3 : a small but potent or bracing portion of something a jolt of horseradish


jolted; jolting; jolts

Definition of jolt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to disturb the composure of : shock crudely jolted out of that mood— Virginia Woolf an announcement that jolted the community
b : to interfere with roughly, abruptly, and disconcertingly determination to pursue his own course was jolted badly— F. L. Paxson
2 : to cause to move with a sudden jerky motion passengers being jolted along a bumpy road
3 : to give a knock or blow to specifically : to jar with a quick or hard blow

intransitive verb

: to move with a sudden jerky motion

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Other Words from jolt


jolty \ ˈjōl-​tē How to pronounce jolt (audio) \ adjective


jolter noun

Examples of jolt in a Sentence

Noun I sprang out of bed with a jolt. The car stopped with a jolt. I got quite a jolt when I heard the door slam. The defeat was quite a jolt to the team. The stock market suffered a major jolt yesterday. She needed a jolt of caffeine to start her day. The unexpected praise he received gave him a jolt of confidence. Verb The explosion jolted the ship. He was jolted forward when the bus stopped suddenly. The loud bang jolted me awake. The attack jolted the country into action. She jolted the medical world with her announcement.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first part of the turn is dispatched without drama, but as Moers feeds the power back in, there is a flare of revs, a jolt of oversteer, and the sudden application of some corrective steering lock. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 21 July 2021 Others feel something like an electric jolt, tingling, or even muscle weakness. Sarah Jacob, SELF, 1 July 2021 For a Knicks team that needed a jolt in outside shooting, Randle has supplied them with the adequate volume necessary to unclog their offense a bit. Shane Young, Forbes, 19 May 2021 The separated families received a jolt of hope in early February when President Biden signed an executive order to reunify the migrant families by bringing the deported parents into the United States. New York Times, 4 May 2021 New Long Leg, the debut full-length by Dry Cleaning, opens with a jolt: insistent, slightly distorted synth drums, countered by a bludgeoning bassline. Maura Johnston,, 3 Apr. 2021 Routinely weak on defense and repeatedly coming up short in close games, the Hawks needed a jolt. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2021 The anti-regime protests taking place throughout Cuba delivered yet another jolt to the White House. Washington Post, 13 July 2021 Indians, reeling under the burden of high fuel prices, could be in for another jolt due to reasons that are mostly out of the country’s control. Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 5 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moira thinks a trip to Switzerland to speak at his final hearing or a media blitz will jolt the ICC into action. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 16 June 2021 Mare’s daughter, Siobhan (the wonderful Angourie Rice), optimistically headed off to Berkeley, having helped jolt her mother into self-awareness., 31 May 2021 The move was part of broader strategy to jolt states into action without rankling Republican governors – who may be concerned about federal overreach – as the country prepares for a surge in vaccine doses. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 19 Mar. 2021 Experts had had forecast that the national rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the reopening of the economy would jolt hiring. Kate Sullivan, CNN, 7 May 2021 But the startling suggestion of a massive sea wall up to 20 feet high cutting across beautiful Biscayne Bay was enough to jolt some Miamians to attention. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, 3 June 2021 But the startling suggestion of a massive sea wall up to 20 feet high cutting across beautiful Biscayne Bay was enough to jolt some Miamians to attention., 2 June 2021 Biden has not matched the frenzied pace of FDR's first 100 days in office, when more than a dozen laws were passed to provide relief, create jobs and introduce reforms to jolt the country out of a recession. Julian Zelizer, CNN, 24 Apr. 2021 There’s nothing like a reminder of one’s mortality to jolt everything back into perspective, especially after the outrageous Bitcoin bacchanalia that took place in Miami last weekend. Robert Hackett, Fortune, 11 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jolt.' 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 jolt


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1596, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for jolt

Verb and Noun

probably blend of obsolete joll to strike and jot to bump

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Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for jolt



English Language Learners Definition of jolt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sudden, rough movement
: a sudden shock or surprise
: a small but powerful amount of something



English Language Learners Definition of jolt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (something or someone) to move in a quick and sudden way
: to move with a quick and sudden motion
: to surprise or shock (someone)


\ ˈjōlt How to pronounce jolt (audio) \
jolted; jolting

Kids Definition of jolt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or cause to move with a sudden jerky motion The train jolted to a stop.
2 : to cause to be upset The bad news jolted us.



Kids Definition of jolt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an abrupt jerky and usually powerful blow or movement
2 : a sudden shock or surprise Lincoln Elementary needed a good jolt once in a while …— Andrew Clements, Frindle

More from Merriam-Webster on jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers


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