See more synonyms for jolt on
verb (used with object)
  1. to jar, shake, or cause to move by or as if by a sudden rough thrust; shake up roughly: The bus jolted its passengers as it went down the rocky road.
  2. to knock sharply so as to dislodge: He jolted the nail free with a stone.
  3. to stun with a blow, especially in boxing.
  4. to shock emotionally or psychologically: His sudden death jolted us all.
  5. to bring to a desired state sharply or abruptly: to jolt a person into awareness.
  6. to make active or alert, as by using an abrupt, sharp, or rough manner: to jolt someone's memory.
  7. to interfere with or intrude upon, especially in a rough or crude manner; interrupt disturbingly.
verb (used without object)
  1. to move with a sharp jerk or a series of sharp jerks: The car jolted to a halt.
  1. a jolting shock, movement, or blow: The automobile gave a sudden jolt.
  2. an emotional or psychological shock: The news of his arrest gave me quite a jolt.
  3. something that causes such a shock: The news was a jolt to me.
  4. a sudden, unexpected rejection or defeat: Their policy got a rude jolt from the widespread opposition.
  5. Slang. a prison sentence.
  6. Slang. an injection of a narcotic.
  7. a bracing dose of something: a jolt of whiskey; a jolt of fresh air.

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. 2018

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)
  1. to bump against with a jarring blow; jostle
  2. to move in a jolting manner
  3. to surprise or shock
  1. a sudden jar or blow
  2. 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