\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the offense became stagnant and lethargic, Beilein called on Clarkson for a jolt. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers miss Jordan Clarkson, as new-look second unit struggles in 129-117 loss to Boston Celtics," 27 Dec. 2019 Homes in Burbank and Rowland Heights shuddered; in El Segundo, one person felt a strong jolt intense enough to be woken up. Los Angeles Times, "Earthquake: 3.5 quake rattles Los Angeles area," 18 Oct. 2019 For the second match in a row, the Lions faced an opponent who brought a major jolt of attack in the second half, forcing Orlando City to defend for most of the final 45 minutes. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City," 17 Aug. 2019 The strength of Apple’s non-iPhone business has provided a jolt to Apple’s price-to-earnings ratio, lifting it to its highest level since 2010. Tripp Mickle, WSJ, "Apple Was Headed for a Slump. Then It Had One of the Biggest Rallies Ever.," 26 Jan. 2020 Another jolt of notoriety occurred in July when Trump staged a rally for Bishop in nearby Greenville. Author: Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, "GOP holds NC House seat but shows weakness in suburbs," 11 Sep. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb America in the late 1800s and 1920s also faced jolting technical and economic changes, and the model of capitalism was questioned. The Economist, "America needs to fix capitalism to save it," 18 Oct. 2019 Indeed, Russian aggression has inspired the U.S. to rebuild its European military presence and jolted some Europeans into spending more. James Marson, WSJ, "NATO and Other Alliances Face Unprecedented Strains," 20 Jan. 2020 Turn off your email and text notifications for at least some of the outside work time so that you don’t get jolted back into thinking about work. NBC News, "Daily and weekly tips to help prevent burnout at work," 16 Jan. 2020 As Iran jolts the presidential race, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders look to seize the moment. Annah Aschbrenner, USA TODAY, "OnPolitics: We're back!," 10 Jan. 2020 Turns out, the magnitude 6.4 earthquake which jolted Puerto Rico yesterday was not an aberration—since December 28, some 400 earthquakes of a magnitude of 2 or greater have been recorded in the region. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "The Sweet Nostalgia of the ‘Israel Loves Iran’ Project," 8 Jan. 2020 The latest earthquake struck during the predawn hours, flattening homes, knocking out power in some areas and jolting awake terrified residents. Faith Karimi, CNN, "More than 500 earthquakes have rattled the Puerto Rico region in 10 days. There may be more to come," 8 Jan. 2020 There are snappy black-and-white flashbacks to Bergoglio’s youth in Argentina, and jolting jump cuts to specific memories. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Breezy Buddy Comedy About the Modern Papacy," 29 Nov. 2019 The South Napa earthquake along the San Andreas Fault reached 6.0, caused roughly $1 billion in damage, injured 200, killed one and jolted plenty of nerves. Richard Freedman, The Mercury News, "A look back at 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa five years ago," 24 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jolt

Statistics for jolt

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up jolt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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