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See more synonyms for jolt on Thesaurus.com
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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to move with a sharp jerk or a series of sharp jerks: The car jolted to a halt.
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  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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for jolting

knock, disturb, upset, rock, shock, jar, startle, shake, convulse, stun, discompose, shove, jerk, floor, bump, perturb, start, stagger, jostle, astonish

Examples from the Web for jolting

Contemporary Examples of jolting

Historical Examples of jolting

  • Hours and hours—they seemed like years—of jolting over rough roads.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • They could hear the jolting of the laden cart on its way down the glen.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • But the jolting of the coach had so hardly used Crispin that he had to be carried into the hostelry.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Nelly was quite pleased to feel the jolting of a cart once more.

  • The sound of heavy horses at a jolting trot came to our ears.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for jolting


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



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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper