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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Politics in Brief Wind energy: The U.S. is way behind Europe and its own wind power targets, but a giant ship nearing completion in Texas could give a jolt to the industry. Elizabeth Both, NBC News, 1 July 2024 The stormy conditions seemed to deliver a further jolt of life into an already electrifying affair. Sam Joseph, CNN, 29 June 2024
Such a gesture would be meaningful because, by some measures, the Bay Program needs to be jolted out of its inertia, said Keisha Sedlacek of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 1 July 2024 Macron’s call was an audacious gamble that French voters who were complacent about the European election would be jolted into turning out for moderate forces in national elections to keep the far right out of power. Will Daniel, Fortune, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for jolt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jolt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 18 Jul. 2024.

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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