\ 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 But the jolt of Floyd’s death would in some ways cross demographic gulfs, experts say. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, "Shaped by Black Lives Matter, Gen Z watches Chauvin trial with cynicism and urgency: ‘What’s next?’," 3 Apr. 2021 Then the sickening jolt of recognition: This is our normal. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "As pandemic recedes, mass shootings again jolt America," 23 Mar. 2021 In addition to the financial boost reopening Chase Center — even partially — to fans would provide, the Warriors are eager for the jolt of energy spectators offer. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why Warriors' Steve Kerr is eager to get fans back at Chase Center," 15 Mar. 2021 The taste and the very quick jolt of caffeine can make all the difference in your day. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "12 Ways Coffee May Boost Your Health and Wellness, According to Research," 1 Mar. 2021 With Kalscheur likely out for at least three more weeks, and starting center Liam Robbins battling through an ankle injury, Mashburn is providing the jolt the lineup needs. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Jamal Mashburn Jr.'s first Gophers men's basketball season one of growth and lessons learned," 24 Feb. 2021 It’s the jolt from an early-morning phone call that as much as anything defined playing through an NFL season in the midst of a pandemic. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "How these NFL players who had COVID-19 returned to play," 28 Jan. 2021 From that line came properly funky dinuguan, the peanut-sauce jolt of pork kare kare, springy fresh pancit noodles and the best lumpia of this report, rolled out, filled and fried right in front of your eyes. Mike Sutter,, "7 great restaurants for Philippine food in San Antonio, even if you’re not Filipino. Jollibee makes the list with Sari-Sari, Deco Cafe, Jollibee, Lily’s, My ChockDee, Susie’s Lumpia House and Tabares," 21 Jan. 2021 At the start of 2020, investors worried the market might have less tailwind as the Fed stopped cutting interest rates and the economic jolt from the Trump tax cuts ran out. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Markets started 2020 riding high, and they'll end it even higher," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb BioNTech’s response: An alliance designed to jolt production of the vaccine and speed up vaccinations in Europe and elsewhere. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "BioNTech Recruits Rivals to Boost Covid-19 Vaccine Production," 13 Mar. 2021 Still, the law could provoke a Tea Party-style backlash of the sort generated by the Obama administration’s efforts to jolt the economy back to health in 2009. Jim Tankersley,, "How shifting politics reenergized the fight against poverty," 13 Mar. 2021 Still, the law could provoke a Tea Party-style backlash of the sort generated by the Obama administration’s efforts to jolt the economy back to health in 2009. New York Times, "Two Decades After the ‘End of Welfare,’ Democrats Are Changing Direction," 13 Mar. 2021 Still, the law could provoke a Tea Party-style backlash of the sort generated by the Obama administration's efforts to jolt the economy back to health in 2009. Jim Tankersley And Jason Deparle New York Times, Star Tribune, "Democrats renew fight against poverty with $1.9T COVID-19 relief package," 13 Mar. 2021 That was enough to jolt a few shows back into campaign mode — though those campaigning were only guessing at when voting might happen. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "What Ever Happened to the Tonys?," 12 Mar. 2021 In another major change poised to further jolt the already rocky world of digital advertising, Google plans to stop tracking individual users’ web browsing habits or selling ads based on it. Marty Swant, Forbes, "Google Is Phasing Out Data-Driven Web Tracking Based On Personal Browsing Activity," 3 Mar. 2021 The Trump administration moved Tuesday to ease policies and recommendations constraining the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, aiming to jolt the lagging program. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "To fix vaccine rollout, Trump administration will release available doses and recommend vaccinating all vulnerable people," 12 Jan. 2021 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

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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 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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