\ 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 jolty (audio) \ adjective


jolter noun

Examples of jolt in a Sentence


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.


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

Morgan’s return to the starting lineup was meant to offer a jolt for the offense. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride beat Chicago Red Stars 2-1 despite early Alex Morgan injury," 23 Aug. 2019 Come summer, Jackson Hole's famously steep terrain still delivers an adrenaline jolt. Amy Tara Koch, Dallas News, "These four mountain getaways are worth a peak," 13 Aug. 2019 Markets received another jolt on Monday when China retaliated by letting the value of its currency fall to the lowest level since 2008, raising fears of a currency war between the world's two biggest economies. CBS News, "Stocks dip as Trump raises doubts about China trade talks," 9 Aug. 2019 On the first of two nights of debates in Detroit, several of the field’s struggling moderates tried to give their campaigns a jolt by warning these positions could cost Democrats their shot to make Donald Trump a one-term President. Time Staff, Time, "10 Things We Learned From Night One of the Democratic Debates in Detroit," 31 July 2019 The Dark Horses Boston Red Sox Syndergaard would provide a jolt of youth to an aging staff at Fenway Park. Michael Shapiro,, "Ranking Noah Syndergaard's Top Landing Spots," 30 July 2019 Priah Ferguson, a 12-year-old Atlanta middle schooler, has given season 3 of the sci-fi, back-to-the-’80s Netflix show a jolt of sassy electricity. Washington Post, "‘Stranger Things’ breakout star is a spunky seventh grader," 29 July 2019 Priah Ferguson, a 12-year-old Atlanta middle schooler, has given Season 3 of the sci-fi, back-to-the-’80s Netflix show a jolt of sassy electricity. Mark Kennedy, Houston Chronicle, "‘Stranger Things’ breakout star is a spunky seventh-grader," 29 July 2019 For years, a jolt to the price of Bitcoin triggered a synchronous response in other cryptocurrencies. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Here Comes the IRS—The Ledger," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Having enjoyed 10 years of peace, the brazenness of the April 21 attacks jolted Sri Lanka, conjuring the days of bombs going off in the capital of Colombo when rebels fought for an independent state for the country’s ethnic Tamil minority. Washington Post, "Sri Lanka attacks boost feared ex-official’s bid for power," 23 Aug. 2019 More importantly, this episode is also a tale of why people shouldn't be ashamed to seek psychiatric help -- particularly after a jolting life experience. Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "The 25 most relatable 'Friends' episodes as the show turns 25," 16 Aug. 2019 Dobnak, 24, latched on with the Twins in 2017 and jolted through three separate levels in 2019 before receiving his first call up. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Randy Dobnak, who went undrafted, joins Twins," 8 Aug. 2019 Christian Yelich's homer off Tyler Beede to start the Milwaukee sixth tied the game at 2-2 and jolted the otherwise lifeless sellout crowd, which hadn't seen a Brewers hit since the first inning. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Giants 8, Brewers 3: Another bullpen collapse ends the series on an ugly note," 14 July 2019 A week after a string of strong earthquakes jolted Southern California, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged neighborhood leaders Friday to prepare for the next big one. Dakota Smith,, "Mayor Eric Garcetti challenges neighborhood leaders to train for earthquakes," 12 July 2019 So far, the new system has been jolting for many in Shanghai, China’s pilot city ahead of a national roll-out, who are navigating what seem like unusually complex rules, even by global trash-sorting standards. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "Extreme Trash Recycling: 104 Protocols, 30,000 Inspectors," 10 July 2019 The scene, which jolts and spellbinds with the affecting draw of a Last Poets cipher, is just one of several fluorescent currents from HBO’s dynamic and dynamite six-episode series A Black Lady Sketch Show, which debuts tonight on HBO. Wired, "A Black Lady Sketch Show," 2 Aug. 2019 The song responsible for jolting his career single-handedly shook up the country music genre and caused some listeners to squirm at the thought of a country-rap single topping the Country Billboard charts. Mikeisha Daché Vaughn, Teen Vogue, "Lil Nas X Has Forever Changed Hip-Hop as an Out, Queer Artist," 30 July 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.

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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

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jolt

The first known use of jolt was in 1596

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jolt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jolt

Spanish Central: Translation of jolt

Nglish: Translation of jolt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jolt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on jolt

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recurring in steady succession

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