1 of 2


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


2 of 2


jolted; jolting; jolts

transitive verb

: to disturb the composure of : shock
crudely jolted out of that moodVirginia Woolf
an announcement that jolted the community
: to interfere with roughly, abruptly, and disconcertingly
determination to pursue his own course was jolted badlyF. L. Paxson
: to cause to move with a sudden jerky motion
passengers being jolted along a bumpy road
: 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
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
After hearing all of this and witnessing Kiffin open up about the changes he’s tried to make since USC, the news of Robbins’ lawsuit against Kiffin hits with an extra jolt. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 What was a relatively quiet week for the Big Ten's top teams received a jolt on Saturday night. Craig Meyer, Detroit Free Press, 10 Sep. 2023 Maybe a jolt will help: The Rangers have already been talking about possibly adding top prospect Evan Carter. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 7 Sep. 2023 Boxy, subdued, and ornate, this new Century is essentially as big as many full-size SUVs but only seats four, as the two rear seats recline in all sorts of ways and offer features including an entertainment system and even a driving mode meant to smooth braking jolts for the rear-seat passengers. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 6 Sep. 2023 The winding circuitry of their conversations yields some electrifying jolts of truth. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 The Pop of Color Outfit Rich earth tones are staples for fall, but break them up with a jolt of bold color via a skirt or dress. Aemilia Madden, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Aug. 2023 Rather than a gentle rolling quake, this seismic activity felt like a brief jolt that could be felt from as far north as Long Beach and as far south as Tijuana, and from as far inland as Poway and San Bernardino, according to the USGS community internet intensity map. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2023 This sudden mid-air jolt is caused by wind shear created by the jet stream, specifically the polar front jet stream in northern latitudes. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 5 Sep. 2023
But millions in Morocco felt the planet shake and splinter, jolt and disintegrate, before thousands of the most unfortunate were greeted by tectonic rage. Robin George Andrews, The Atlantic, 10 Sep. 2023 Throughout 2022, gas prices were especially hard to predict as the Russian invasion of Ukraine jolted global commodities markets. Allison Morrow, CNN, 7 Sep. 2023 While the cause of the fire is still undetermined, those fears played out with terrifying velocity shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday when the first flames and whiffs of smoke jolted residents awake. Lynsey Chutel, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2023 Plenty of us know the feeling of flipping on the TV or opening Instagram to jolt our attention or calm our nerves. Tatum Hunter, Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2023 The authorities have rightly called this heinous act racially motivated, a term that should jolt us into action. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 27 Aug. 2023 Branch’s feats had even his opponents in awe as the freshman stole the show in his college debut, jolting No. 6 USC out of its offseason slumber with 232 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 56-28 victory at the Coliseum on Saturday. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 27 Aug. 2023 Since the mass shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Alexander, 44, has been jolted into political activism for the first time in her life. Kevin Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Aug. 2023 Meanwhile, separate from the Rainbow-Fallbrook dispute, the local water world was jolted by a recent development in Imperial County. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jolt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

probably blend of obsolete joll to strike and jot to bump

First Known Use


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1596, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of jolt was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near jolt

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to give a quick hard blow to : jar
: to move jerkily
jolter noun


2 of 2 noun
: a sudden jarring blow or movement
: a sudden shock or surprise

More from Merriam-Webster on jolt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!