verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to move with a sharp jerk or a series of sharp jerks: The car jolted to a halt.


Origin of jolt

1590–1600; blend of jot to jolt and joll to bump, both now dial.
Related formsjolt·er, nounjolt·ing·ly, adverbjolt·less, adjectiveun·jolt·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jolt

Contemporary Examples of jolt

Historical Examples of jolt

  • The "Compact" swung and tilted with the jolt of her energetic movements.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • I had had the jolt that I needed from life—its agony and bloody sweat, its mystery.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • He, too, reined up with a jolt and leaped out of the saddle.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • He sat down with a jolt, and glared fiercely at his friend beside him.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • You bandy-legged rat, get up there, or I'll give you a jolt.

    In the Orbit of Saturn

    Roman Frederick Starzl

British Dictionary definitions for jolt


verb (tr)

to bump against with a jarring blow; jostle
to move in a jolting manner
to surprise or shock


a sudden jar or blow
an emotional shock
Derived Formsjolter, nounjoltingly, adverbjolty, adjective

Word Origin for jolt

C16: probably blend of dialect jot to jerk and dialect joll to bump
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 jolt

1590s, perhaps from Middle English jollen, chollen "to knock, to batter" (early 15c.), or an alteration of obsolete jot (v.) "to jostle" (1520s). Perhaps related to earlier jolt head "a big, stupid head" (1530s). Figurative sense of "to startle, surprise" is from 1872. Related: Jolted; jolting.


1590s, "a knock," from jolt (v.). Meaning "jarring shock" is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper