\ 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

The jolt flung passengers standing in the galley crashing into the ceiling, knocking them unconscious. Jeff Wise, Popular Mechanics, "4 Times Before the Boeing 737 Max 8 That Plane Automation Software Went Haywire," 18 Mar. 2019 Chicago pianist Stu Katz first heard Pickens in the late 1950s, after Pickens moved to Chicago from his native Milwaukee, and on stage Katz recalled the jolt of encountering such volcanic music. Howard Reich,, "Stars and students pay tribute to piano giant Willie Pickens," 19 Apr. 2018 The shaking began with a sharp jolt and lasted for a minute, causing many people to run outside. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Alaska’s earthquake didn’t kill anyone—here’s why," 3 Dec. 2018 But new data suggest the latest technology boom is starting to give the economy a jolt. Josh Mitchell, WSJ, "Measure of U.S. Innovation Jumped in 2018," 20 Mar. 2019 For this show, a mirrored floor and graffitied ceiling thrilled and disoriented, and the pulsing impulses of each piece as well as the distance traveled from the first to the last gave me both a visceral and intellectual jolt. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 In bringing the event to Paris this year—and to Rome in 2022—the European Tour is using it as a developmental jolt to its primary business. Brian Costa, WSJ, "How the Ryder Cup Wound Up in France," 21 Sep. 2018 Snap, which has a user base that isn’t growing and a stock that’s near an all-time low, could use a jolt to its business. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Snapchat, which needs a business boost, is creating a new revenue stream with help from some publishers," 13 Sep. 2018 The purge has come as a jolt to choristers, many of whom have sung with the TFC for decades, sacrificing hundreds of hours each year to rehearse and perform. Malcolm Gay,, "Harsh notes amid purge of BSO’s chorus," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The action Thursday against Chams Exchange and its owner, Kassem Chams, comes amid building fears within Lebanon that the U.S. could jolt the fragile Lebanese economy by targeting the financial sector more broadly. Ian Talley, WSJ, "U.S. Treasury Sanctions Lebanese Currency Exchange," 11 Apr. 2019 The opening of this white-tablecloth, French-Cali place in 1997 started chef Traci des Jardins on her path to local domination and jolted awake Hayes Valley's then-sleepy dining scene. Alec Scott,, "In San Francisco's Hayes Valley, there's something for almost everyone," 27 May 2018 Although corporate profits have continued to grow, anxiety about slower revenue growth has jolted some investors. David Hodari, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Jump as Tough Month Sets to Wrap," 31 Oct. 2018 And with everyone involved jolted out of the routine, there’s a vulnerability that fosters connections. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "Tolstoy behind bars: Why U-Va. students are reading Russian literature in a prison," 5 July 2018 The news jolted investors, who sent the shares down as much as 4.5 percent to $197.50 in late trading. Craig Giammona,, "Domino's CEO Will Hand Reins to International Chief in July," 9 Jan. 2018 But nothing jolts me out of post-anal bliss like a little bit of butt bleeding. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Is Bleeding Normal After Anal Sex?," 23 Feb. 2019 One Friday evening, a thundering knock on the front door jolted my new boyfriend and I from an intimate moment on the couch. Crystal Ponti, Harper's BAZAAR, "What It's Actually Like To Be Stalked by Joe," 12 Feb. 2019 Powerful earthquakes jolted the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, destroying houses and killing at least one person. Fox News, "Powerful quakes rock Sulawesi in Indonesia, destroying homes," 28 Sep. 2018

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

7 May 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

Comments on jolt

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something valued as if it were money

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