bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio) \

Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long pillow or cushion
2 : a structural part designed to eliminate friction or provide support or bearing (see bearing sense 5)


bolstered; bolstering\ ˈbōl-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce bolster (audio) \

Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to support with or as if with a bolster : reinforce lay bolstered up in bed extra men will bolster already augmented dock details— Stanley Levey
2 : to give a boost to news that bolstered his spirits

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Other Words from bolster


bolsterer \ ˈbōl-​stər-​ər How to pronounce bolster (audio) \ noun

Examples of bolster in a Sentence

Verb She came with me to bolster my confidence. a convincing argument that was bolstered by the speaker's reputation She is thinking of ways to bolster her career.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So, to everyone who missed out on getting the road bike, mountain bike, kayak, hiking boot, or yoga bolster that sold out amid the pandemic, heed my warning and get into this naturally socially distant sport now. Brandon Perlman, Travel + Leisure, 10 Oct. 2021 This meditation pillow may look a little bit different than the ones you are used to, but the bolster-shape is a customer favorite and boasts an impressive 4.7 rating, with more than 2,500 reviews., 30 Sep. 2021 Daybed mattress and bolster pillows: in fabric by C&C Milano. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 27 Sep. 2021 This slab-foam and memory-foam orthopedic bed will take the pressure off joints, while the wraparound bolster serves as a head- and backrest. Hannah Harper,, 9 Sep. 2021 The conditions at Marymount bolster criticism within the industry that oversight of labs is insular and inspectors are too lax. Ellen Gabler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 Aug. 2021 President Biden in June ordered the Departments of Energy and the Interior to help industry bolster mining and processing of battery materials. Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 Gianacakos also designs fabrics, one of which covers the bolster and armchair and will be released later this year, too. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 8 July 2021 But outside court, Powell has continued to play to Trump's base and bolster theories related to the big lie. Tara Subramaniam, CNN, 1 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Equally important, the company is backing up its decision with operational and infrastructure investments (e.g., three new battery factories) to bolster the likelihood of its strategy’s success. Muqsit Ashraf, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Most Taliban fighters have gone to the cities, especially Kabul, to bolster the group’s presence there. WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 But in recent years, as tensions have risen between the United States and China, Washington has made moves to bolster its support for Taiwan as a bulwark against Beijing. Washington Post, 10 Oct. 2021 Cruz, the veteran DH acquired in July at a high cost to bolster the offense, did just that, with a home run in the third off the C-ring — C as in Cruz — catwalk. Marc Topkin,, 8 Oct. 2021 The outpouring of support from CR’s fans (aka Critters) caught the eye of execs at Amazon Studios, which picked up the series to bolster its adult-animation slate. Todd Spangler, Variety, 8 Oct. 2021 Sometimes justices swoop in to bolster an advocate's point, sometimes to undercut it. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 The bipartisan measure established a grant funding program to assist communities with restoration of natural lands to bolster wildfire safety. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Oct. 2021 All-Big Ten caliber big men, a dark horse for conference player of the year in Jaden Ivey, and multiple elite recruits to bolster an already dangerous frontcourt. By typical preseason measures, the Boilermakers should enter this season as favorites. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bolster.' 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 bolster


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bolster

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English belg bag — more at belly

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Time Traveler for bolster

Time Traveler

The first known use of bolster was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bolster



bolster plate

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Statistics for bolster

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bolster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for bolster



English Language Learners Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long bag of cloth completely filled with soft material : a long pillow or cushion



English Language Learners Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) stronger or better : to give support to (something)


bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər How to pronounce bolster (audio) \

Kids Definition of bolster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long pillow or cushion sometimes used to support bed pillows


bolstered; bolstering

Kids Definition of bolster (Entry 2 of 2)

: to support with or as if with a bolster We tried to bolster their courage.


transitive verb
bol·​ster | \ ˈbōl-stər \

Legal Definition of bolster

: to use evidence usually improperly to give weight to (evidence already introduced)

More from Merriam-Webster on bolster

Nglish: Translation of bolster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bolster for Arabic Speakers


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