\ 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


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.


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

But on April 5, after nearly five years of being an on-paper success story, Gaskin felt the first jolt of public disapproval when the New London police department arrested him. Emily Brindley,, "Courant investigation: New London hired, promoted and allowed employees arrested in sexual assault investigation to work directly with children despite troubled pasts," 23 Aug. 2019 And there is no denying the joyful jolt that comes from seeing representatives from your neck of the demographic woods in the spotlight. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why the star of a new Bruce Springsteen-inspired movie is all of us," 16 Aug. 2019 The first jolt came on May 1, 2013, when Taro’s U.S. unit raised its price from 85 cents to $11.24 per dose — more than 1,200% — according to data from Connecture Inc., a healthcare technology company. Ben Elginbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Price of an OCD drug jumped 1,200%. State attorneys general blame price fixing," 2 Aug. 2019 The sight arrived like the jolt of a sunrise, predictable yet startling. Mary Schmich,, "Column: Jump in the lake. Catch a firefly. Eat breakfast outdoors. It’s not too late to enjoy summer.," 2 Aug. 2019 The final mountain range inspires the same jolt of awe and wonder as a Song Dynasty painting or Ansel Adams photograph. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "You Can't Photoshop This Mountain," 29 July 2019 Now By the sound of it, the scene could’ve provided the jolt of emotional impact that some fans felt was missing from Cersei’s ending. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Lena Headey on How a Deleted Game of Thrones Scene Could've Changed Cersei's Story," 19 June 2019 But Whitford's career received a healthy jolt in the past few years, with revelatory portrayals of dangerous, menacing characters in high-profile projects. Greg Braxton,, "Bradley Whitford cornered the market on creepy white men. Now he’s ready to lighten up," 12 Sep. 2019 But Whitford’s career received a healthy jolt in the past few years, with revelatory portrayals of dangerous, menacing characters in high-profile projects. Los Angeles Times, "Bradley Whitford cornered the market on creepy white men. Now he’s ready to lighten up," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Typically, parents can be jolted into remembering by a visual cue like a diaper bag or a baby's cry. Thomas C. Zambito, USA TODAY, "Attorney: Dropping charges against dad of twins who died in hot car may raise awareness," 15 Aug. 2019 No one was seriously hurt, but shoppers were jolted by more drama than their usual trip to Walmart on Thursday. Tiffini Theisen,, "Man crashes golf cart into same Florida Walmart another man threatened to shoot up days earlier: report," 9 Aug. 2019 Like many others who ran in 2018, Scholten was a first-time candidate who was jolted into politics by Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Democrats are trying to oust Steve King again. Will Republicans beat them to it?," 5 Aug. 2019 Hong Kong has a longstanding, admirable protest culture that is peaceful, but recent acts of vandalism have jolted the city. Christine Loh, Time, "Hong Kong Needs a Deep Dialogue of Reconciliation In Order to Move Forward," 5 July 2019 The attack, which occurred not far from where Smith saw Jordan, has deeply jolted the close-knit hiking community. al, "Man accused of fatal knife attack on Appalachian Trail had scared hikers for weeks: authorities," 14 May 2019 Trump last month floated the idea of indexing capital gains to inflation or cutting payroll taxes as a way to jolt the U.S. economy, which has shown warning signs of a slowdown. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "Trump Says He Plans to Unveil Middle-Class Tax Cut in Next Year," 12 Sep. 2019 Since the jokes never rise about the level of a grin, the movie relies on blood and gore to jolt the audience awake. Julie Washington,, "Comedy-horror ‘Ready or Not’ relies on blood more than laughs: Review," 20 Aug. 2019 The photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, lying facedown in the river drew global condemnation, helping to jolt lawmakers into passing a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill Thursday. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Ken Cuccinelli, head of citizenship service, blames migrant father for drowning deaths captured in photo," 28 June 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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Statistics for jolt

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jolt

The first known use of jolt was in 1596

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jolt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jolt

Spanish Central: Translation of jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers

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