- a long, often cylindrical, cushion or pillow for a bed, sofa, etc.
- anything resembling this in form or in use as a support.
- any pillow, cushion, or pad.
- Also called bolster plate.a circular casting on the side of a vessel, through which an anchor chain passes.
- a timber used as a temporary support.
- a beam for holding lines or rigging without chafing.
- a bag filled with buoyant material, fitted into a small boat.
- Metalworking. an anvillike support for the lower die of a drop forge.
- a timber or the like connecting two ribs of a centering.
- a chisel with a blade splayed toward the edge, used for cutting bricks.
- Carpentry. a horizontal timber on a post for lessening the free span of a beam.
- a structural member on which one end of a bridge truss rests.
- to support with or as with a pillow or cushion.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for bolstering
Corporations are bolstering profits by underpaying workers at the very bottom.Finally, Home Care Workers Start Fighting Back
October 19, 2014
These are groups that take advantage,” he said, making it clear they are “bolstering the neo-Nazi right.Italy Suddenly Gets Ugly for Jews
Barbie Latza Nadeau
July 29, 2014
Is it regime change or bolstering a political process in Geneva?Will Arming Syrian Rebels Lead to Disaster?
June 15, 2013
Both Bachmann and Pawlenty should have to answer for bolstering that respectability.Bachmann and Pawlenty's Ponzi Pal
April 28, 2011
And with that bolstering thought he brought his head up sharply.We're Friends, Now
Unconsciously he has been bolstering up the eventual Renaissance.Ghetto Comedies
They're bolstering it up somewhat, so as to keep on hooking tourists, I presume.Seeing France with Uncle John
It is the most primitive way of bolstering one's limitations.Woman as Decoration
I hate the being suspected of fishing for a pedigree, or bolstering one up with false statements.Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume 6
John Gibson Lockhart
- (often foll by up) to support or reinforce; strengthento bolster morale
- to prop up with a pillow or cushion
- to add padding toto bolster a dress
- a long narrow pillow or cushion
- any pad or padded support
- 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
- a cold chisel having a broad blade splayed towards the cutting edge, used for cutting stone slabs, etc
Word Origin and History for bolstering
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.)).
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.