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See more synonyms for bold on Thesaurus.com
adjective, bold·er, bold·est.
  1. not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero.
  2. not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent: He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor.
  3. necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure.
  4. beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative: Einstein was a bold mathematician. a difficult problem needing a bold answer.
  5. striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy: a bold pattern.
  6. steep; abrupt: a bold promontory.
  7. Nautical. deep enough to be navigable close to the shore: bold waters.
  8. Printing. typeset in boldface.
  9. Obsolete. trusting; assured.
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  1. be/make (so) bold, to presume or venture; dare: I made bold to offer my suggestion.
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Origin of bold

before 1000; Middle English bald, bold, Old English b(e)ald; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German bald, Dutch boud bold, Old Norse ballr dire < Germanic *bál-tha-z; akin to Welsh balch proud, Irish balc strong < *bal-ko-
Related formsbold·ly, adverbbold·ness, nouno·ver·bold, adjectiveo·ver·bold·ly, adverbo·ver·bold·ness, nounsu·per·bold, adjectivesu·per·bold·ly, adverbsu·per·bold·ness, nounun·bold, adjectiveun·bold·ly, adverbun·bold·ness, noun
Can be confusedbolder boulder


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Synonym study

2. Bold, brazen, forward, presumptuous may refer to manners in a derogatory way. Bold suggests impudence, shamelessness, and immodesty: a bold stare. Brazen suggests the same, together with a defiant manner: a brazen liar. Forward implies making oneself unduly prominent or bringing oneself to notice with too much assurance. Presumptuous implies overconfidence, effrontery, taking too much for granted


2. modest.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for boldly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "I don't see it," John boldly asserted, though there was doubt in his mind.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • "I am Barbara, and I am going into the forest," said she, boldly.

  • He put his belt with the pistols in it around his neck and stepped in boldly.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • He boldly avowed his love for Elizabeth, and declared his intention of marrying her.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • I say "envy" boldly, because I am accustomed to acknowledge everything to myself.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

British Dictionary definitions for boldly


  1. courageous, confident, and fearless; ready to take risks
  2. showing or requiring couragea bold plan
  3. immodest or impudentshe gave him a bold look
  4. standing out distinctly; conspicuousa figure carved in bold relief
  5. very steepthe bold face of the cliff
  6. imaginative in thought or expressionthe novel's bold plot
  7. printing set in bold face
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  1. printing short for bold face
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Derived Formsboldly, adverbboldness, noun

Word Origin

Old English beald; related to Old Norse ballr dangerous, terrible, baldinn defiant, Old High German bald bold
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

Word Origin and History for boldly



Old English beald (West Saxon), bald (Anglian) "bold, brave, confident, strong," from Proto-Germanic *balthaz (cf. Old High German bald "bold, swift," in names such as Archibald, Leopold, Theobald; Gothic balþei "boldness;" Old Norse ballr "frightful, dangerous"), perhaps from PIE *bhol-to- suffixed form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).

Of flavors (coffee, etc.) from 1829. The noun meaning "those who are bold" is from c.1300. Old French and Provençal baut "bold," Italian baldo "bold, daring, fearless" are Germanic loan-words.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with boldly


In addition to the idiom beginning with bold

  • bold as brass

also see:

  • big and bold
  • make bold
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.