\ 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 It’s the jolt this club needed after winning 10 games last year on the back of a tremendous defensive effort, but ultimately wasn’t enough to get the job done in the postseason. Alex Kay, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Writer-director Lisa Joy (Westworld) seems to be aiming for an Inception-style metaphysical mind-bend, with the sci-fi jolt of Minority Report and a bleak splash of Waterworld. Leah Greenblatt,, 18 Aug. 2021 Governor DeSantis and Me-Maw Ivey both called personally to make sure the situation was under control after being notified about the seismic jolt that registered in both capitals within minutes of the fall. al, 19 July 2021 Created out of beechwood and featuring a floral-print velvet cushion emblazoned with a spaniel, the Francesina chair winks at you while adding just the right jolt of energy. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 July 2021 To feel the boom of Kenny Aronoff's kick drum reverberating in your stomach was a reminder of the thrilling jolt of live music. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, 5 July 2021 After finishing 28th in offensive rating, last in scoring and 3-point percentage, 29th in 3-pointers made and 28th in attempts, the Cavs needed a jolt at that end of the floor. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 28 Aug. 2021 The fruit sits in a pastry shell on a thick bed of heavy cream, whipped with sugar and a jolt of dark rum. Mayukh Sen, The New Yorker, 24 Aug. 2021 The Padres desperately needed a jolt, even if the lightning proves to be more optics than substance. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The study’s sponsor and research team hope the findings will jolt Jewish institutions into funding initiatives for and by Jews of color and changing the composition of decision-making bodies to reflect Jewish diversity. Asaf Shalev,, 18 Aug. 2021 The Internal Revenue Service has started to distribute stimulus checks of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans as the federal government tries to jolt the economy back to life amid the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 7 Aug. 2021 Aftershocks from Trump's attempts to dispute his loss continue to jolt national politics. Patrick Condon, Star Tribune, 19 June 2021 Experts noted to The Washington Post that while red-flag laws received a surge of support three years ago, even the shock of two deadly shooting sprees in the span of a week may not be enough to jolt state legislatures into action this time. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2021 In the second inning, Wil Myers robbed Corey Seager of a homer to left, the kind of catch that has the potential to jolt and propel a team. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Aug. 2021 Tuesday night, a 68-58 loss to Netherlands, Ibanez asked co-captain Natalie Schneider to jolt her back into reality. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Aug. 2021 The epicenter was about 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area Sunday. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, 16 Aug. 2021 The epicenter was about 78 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area Sunday. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 16 Aug. 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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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers


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