\ 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 Pack delivered that jolt in the form of firing the heads of four of the news networks that made up the organization: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Byron York, Washington Examiner, "America's lost voice," 4 Feb. 2021 But a large enough jolt will land it on the floor — in the true vacuum., "Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide," 25 Jan. 2021 And then there is Josh Jackson, who got another start Tuesday as Casey looked to give the lineup a jolt of offense. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons aren't winning, but they're showing they nailed NBA draft, free agency," 30 Dec. 2020 Things like sodas and highly processed, sugary granola bars can give you a quick jolt of energy, but then leave you seriously dragging. Jenny Mccoy, Glamour, "How Long Should You Wait to Workout After Eating?," 19 Nov. 2020 Many investors would view all this as negative, though the possibility of a higher COVID-19 relief bill under Democrats, totaling perhaps $3 billion, could give a jolt to the economy, Mercer added. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "How will the stock market react to the election results? Investors weigh in," 3 Nov. 2020 Faulconer said that development would give San Diego’s economy a major jolt at a crucial time, when the COVID-19 pandemic has cratered the city’s tourism economy. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mayor endorses ballot measure that would lift San Diego’s 30-foot height limit near sports arena," 14 Sep. 2020 Junaid Jamshed had just begun strumming the show’s theme song, the puppets clapping and swaying to the tune, when Bari felt an electric jolt up the back of his head. Usman T. Malik, Wired, "The Future of Work: ‘Beyond These Stars Other Tribulations of Love,’ by Usman T. Malik," 11 Dec. 2020 Celebrate the holidays and the Dodgers’ World Series win at the same time Need a jolt of holiday spirit? Los Angeles Times, "How to celebrate Christmas — and the Dodgers’ World Series win — at the same time," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The stimulation doesn’t directly jolt muscles into action. Max G. Levy, Wired, "A New Way to Restore Hand Mobility—With an Electrified Patch," 29 Jan. 2021 Twenty-five of these get my blood moving and jolt me into morning. Leslie Barker, Dallas News, "The new year is full of promise. Own it.," 1 Jan. 2021 The coronavirus pandemic gutted demand for oil and gas and sped consolidation that some investors and analysts said would be necessary to jolt fading Wall Street interest in the sector. Collin Eaton, WSJ, "Diamondback Buys West Texas Shale Driller QEP Resources," 21 Dec. 2020 But that dishonorable distinction seemed to be the wake-up call the area needed to jolt it into action. Kate Santich,, "This was the year for Central Florida to make headway on affordable housing. Then the virus hit. | Part 3 of Special Series," 17 Dec. 2020 This classic twin-bell alarm clock has the distinct decibel levels of clanging metal, and will jolt you out of bed. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Alarm clocks for a charming start to your morning," 28 Nov. 2020 If Harbaugh is able to jolt this team to life and win a few games down the stretch, that could help him on the recruiting trail. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "For Michigan football, what does life look like after Jim Harbaugh?," 22 Nov. 2020 There are plenty of funny scenes set in contemporary California, too, as Kraft tries to jolt himself from the stupor of writer’s block. Washington Post, "In ‘Kraft,’ German author Jonas Lüscher pokes fun at Silicon Valley’s shiny elitism and rabid faith in technology," 18 Nov. 2020 An extended failure to breach 1%, which seemed like almost a sure thing just days ago, may eventually give pause to those wagering that a growth rebound will generate inflation and finally jolt yields decisively from near record lows. Vivien Lou Chen,, "A 1% Treasury Yield Proves Elusive With Pandemic Intensifying," 15 Nov. 2020

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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Learn More about jolt

Statistics for jolt

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on jolt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers

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