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

Example Sentences

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
Walcott had taken Homer’s epic poem about love and longing for home and given it a jolt and a lilt from his native Saint Lucia, spicing the work with Caribbean flavor. Chris Vognar, Chron, 23 Mar. 2023 Color: White Sizes: 23–31 Materials: Cotton Simon Miller is showing up to summer with bold pants that'll give your outfits a jolt of energy. Gaby Keiderling, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Mar. 2023 Late in the third against Orlando, Payne gave the Suns a jolt with seven points and an assist to Deandre Ayton to put them up, 92-80. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 18 Mar. 2023 What a jolt in the second half from Macks starter Keagan Galvez, who scored all 10 points after the break, including a couple hoop-and-harms. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 17 Mar. 2023 Finally, Overload Champions can be stunned using Arc jolt, Stasis slow, or Void suppression. Tom Warren, The Verge, 16 Feb. 2023 Just seconds after the first jolt, a second earthquake was reported – a preliminary 3.5-magnitude earthquake, also 10 miles south of Malibu Beach. Mark Heim |, al, 25 Jan. 2023 There was additional damage in Rio Dell from Sunday’s quake, which residents and officials described as a violent jolt, rather than prolonged shaking. Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2023 There is a 13% chance that another powerful jolt, of magnitude 5.0 or stronger, will strike in the next week, said Cynthia Pridmore, a senior engineering geologist with the California Geological Survey. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 21 Dec. 2022
Emerald is revealed to be a doer, a planner, a woman of action and a formidable wit, on hand to puncture her brother’s self-regard and jolt him out of his brooding. The New York Times Magazine, New York Times, 6 Dec. 2022 But the fight against inflation brings heavy consequences, and could eventually jolt the economy too forcefully, triggering a recession and a new wave of job losses. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2022 Anything that stirs the immune system—stress at work, food poisoning, grief—can jolt HIV combatants to action too. Jill Neimark, Discover Magazine, 7 Nov. 2011 The infrastructure spending will not jolt the American economy like a traditional economic stimulus plan, nor is it meant to. New York Times, 15 Nov. 2021 These lightweight devices can jolt a person’s heart back into regular rhythm. Jen Christensen, CNN, 4 Jan. 2023 Perhaps a drubbing on Nov. 8 will jolt the party back to reality. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2022 Consulting an authority figure might be necessary to jolt you out of a rut of worrying about your health or diet today. Chicago Tribune, 7 Aug. 2022 The only thing guaranteed to jolt you out of Funke’s Roman fever dream? Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 3 May 2022 See More

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.

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 30 Mar. 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

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