\ 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 Wednesday night's order, issued with barely three days of consideration, represented nothing short of a jolt and an assault on a woman's constitutional right to end a pregnancy in its early months. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 2 Sep. 2021 The Raiders, meanwhile, need some type of jolt in their new city — something Rodgers would undoubtedly provide. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 31 May 2021 Fleck's profile is desirable to schools with programs in need of a jolt. Star Tribune, 25 Jan. 2021 The cash infusion has given the recall effort a jolt of momentum. Dustin Gardiner,, 5 Jan. 2021 But the fascination that has greeted the monolith these past few weeks feels significant, the sign of a jolt to the collective unconscious. New York Times, 28 Dec. 2020 While there does not seem to be a report of coffee grounds giving plants too much of a jolt, no more than a monthly scattering one-half to an inch thick over the soil surface would probably be best. Tom Maccubbin,, 26 Dec. 2020 And if Hurts can provide the kind of jolt to Philly’s offense that may be generated, ironically, by Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, the noise to move on from Wentz will intensify. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 14 Dec. 2020 Between the two of them, Trump is the one more in need of a jolt. Dallas News, 15 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb McAuliffe, in an attempt to jolt apathetic Democratic voters just weeks out from the off-year election, has called on a number of top politicians to help him in his bid to win a second term as Virginia's governor. Dan Merica, CNN, 15 Oct. 2021 These all come to play regarding the physical forces that will jolt you and your vehicle. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 The Browns won 26-6, leaning on 100-plus scrimmage yards from Kareem Hunt to jolt their offense. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2021 Given the need to jolt our neurons, our choice today is Jack Daniel’s. Ed Silverman, STAT, 1 Sep. 2021 For the previous three weeks, a strong seismic swarm had produced thousands of earthquakes per day, ranging from gentle tremors to tectonic disruptions powerful enough to jolt a person awake at night. Heidi Julavit, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 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

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

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 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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