\ 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 jolty (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 At dessert, the humble French pudding dessert pot de crème carried the bracing jolt of Mexican chocolate. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Julia’s Bistro & Bar proudly plants French and Mexican flags in San Antonio’s Beacon Hill," 9 Jan. 2020 Three more jolts — 600, 2,300 and 600 volts — rocked the chair and Weber. Tribune Media Services, al, "Alabama woman finds toys given to grandfather are link to 1947 murder," 5 Jan. 2020 Do not underestimate the impact of a friend or associate who seems to have it together but can send jolts into your life., "HAPPY BIRTHDAY," 28 Dec. 2019 Subverting preppy style codes, Stella Maxwell's prim and proper alter ego has lids stacked in glitzy golden crystals, while Akon Changkou, playing party girl, wears jolts of emerald eyeshadow, taking flight with diamanté tips. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 Holiday Party Makeup Ideas From Pat McGrath," 19 Dec. 2019 The photo, initially published by the Yorkshire Evening Post, swept across social media like a firestorm, injecting an explosive jolt into the political war of information in the final days of the election. Danica Kirka, Fox News, "UK's Johnson, Corbyn cast votes as nation decides which party will resolve Brexit impasse," 12 Dec. 2019 The drubbing by the Journal may have also come as a jolt given the often fawning coverage of the cryptocurrency trade press. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Crypto’s Crown Prince Survived ‘The Craziest Bubble Ever.’ Now He’s Ready For a Second Act," 11 Dec. 2019 In early December, bucks are tired and battered but still running on a last jolt of testosterone. Michael Hanback, Outdoor Life, "Why Post-Rut is the New Best Time To Hunt Whitetails," 4 Dec. 2019 All the while, the jolt of success allowed Spartan fans to take joy over their in-state rivals with a cathartic role-reversal that lasted for more than a decade. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Why Rutgers should be Michigan State football's cautionary tale of how a program can crumble," 25 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That may be true, but no other leading lady seems as intent as Theron is on jolting us into looking at women fully. Abby Aguirre, The Atlantic, "Charlize Theron Knows a Monster When She Sees One," 9 Dec. 2019 Ninomiya reminds his audience of the precariousness of nature in the jolting appearance of a woman in slick, lacquered black detritus. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Evaluating the environment — and ourselves — at the Comme des Garçons and Noir by Kei Ninomiya shows," 29 Sep. 2019 Mariah Carey's voice sounds like sparkles and the taste of eggnog, her songs jolt the heart, and her presence as an improviser is deliciously uncomfortable. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "Watching Mariah Carey on Billy on the Street Is a Masterclass in Christmas Joy," 16 Dec. 2019 Then, ever the counterpuncher, the President jolted the proceedings with fresh pizzazz by tweeting an attack on Yovanovitch during her live testimony. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "The Search for Pizzazz at the Impeachment Reality Show," 21 Nov. 2019 The Liberals and Conservatives had narrowed to similar projections after Trudeau’s blackface scandal jolted his campaign, but the gap between the two has since widened again. Josh Wingrove,, "Trudeau Has a Head Start, But Many Races Are Too Close to Call," 16 Oct. 2019 Sosa duel is widely credited with jolting baseball out of a post-strike malaise. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The Year of the Home Run Reaches October," 1 Oct. 2019 Cleo snapped, jolting up so suddenly that Josefine reared back in surprise. Katie Gutierrez, Longreads, "How to Predict the Unpredictable," 24 Sep. 2019 To help jolt Golden State out of its five-game skid, Kerr plans to get Green more involved in the offense. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors look to get Draymond Green more involved as a playmaker," 15 Nov. 2019

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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for jolt


How to pronounce jolt (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jolt

Spanish Central: Translation of jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on jolt

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good-natured easy friendliness

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