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bolster

[bohl-ster] /ˈboʊl stər/
noun
1.
a long, often cylindrical, cushion or pillow for a bed, sofa, etc.
2.
anything resembling this in form or in use as a support.
3.
any pillow, cushion, or pad.
4.
Nautical.
  1. Also called bolster plate. a circular casting on the side of a vessel, through which an anchor chain passes.
  2. a timber used as a temporary support.
  3. a beam for holding lines or rigging without chafing.
  4. a bag filled with buoyant material, fitted into a small boat.
5.
Metalworking. an anvillike support for the lower die of a drop forge.
6.
Masonry.
  1. a timber or the like connecting two ribs of a centering.
  2. a chisel with a blade splayed toward the edge, used for cutting bricks.
7.
Carpentry. a horizontal timber on a post for lessening the free span of a beam.
8.
a structural member on which one end of a bridge truss rests.
verb (used with object)
9.
to support with or as with a pillow or cushion.
10.
to add to, support, or uphold (sometimes followed by up):
They bolstered their morale by singing. He bolstered up his claim with new evidence.
Origin of bolster
1000
before 1000; Middle English bolstre (noun), Old English bolster; cognate with Old Norse bolstr, Dutch bolster, German Polster
Related forms
bolsterer, noun
unbolster, verb (used with object)
unbolstered, adjective
Synonyms
10. strengthen, sustain, aid, reinforce, fortify.
Synonym Study
1. See cushion.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bolstered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They gently raised him, bolstered him with pillows, and told him he had long been ill.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • He was no aristocrat, propped and bolstered by grand relatives.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • Then she wanted to sit on the divan and she bolstered me up with pillows.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett
  • bolstered for the moment by this resolve, she threw back her head and raised her eyes.

    The Lady Doc

    Caroline Lockhart
  • His pride was bolstered up, his blood ran once more in pride.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for bolstered

bolster

/ˈbəʊlstə/
verb (transitive)
1.
(often foll by up) to support or reinforce; strengthen: to bolster morale
2.
to prop up with a pillow or cushion
3.
to add padding to: to bolster a dress
noun
4.
a long narrow pillow or cushion
5.
any pad or padded support
6.
(architect) a short horizontal length of timber fixed to the top of a post to increase the bearing area and reduce the span of the supported beam
7.
a cold chisel having a broad blade splayed towards the cutting edge, used for cutting stone slabs, etc
Derived Forms
bolsterer, noun
bolstering, noun, adjective
Word Origin
Old English bolster; related to Old Norse bolstr, Old High German bolstar, Dutch bulster
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bolstered

bolster

n.

Old English bolster "bolster, cushion, something stuffed so that it swells up," especially "long, stuffed pillow," from Proto-Germanic *bolkhstraz (cf. Old Norse bolstr, Danish, Swedish, Dutch bolster, German polster), from PIE *bhelgh- "to swell" (see belly (n.)).

bolster

v.

mid-15c. (implied in bolstered), "propped up, made to bulge" (originally of a woman's breasts), from bolster (n.). Figurative sense is from c.1500, on the notion of "to support with a bolster, prop up." Related: Bolstering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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