Definition of bootstrap in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbuːtstrap/


1A loop at the back of a boot, used to pull it on.
Example sentences
  • He pulled two small daggers from his bootstraps and shrugged.
  • Her plucky exhortation that ‘with the help of God and some intestinal fortitude, many can change their lives, if they choose to do so’ made me want to wrap my bootstraps around her little neck.
  • It was a formal visit that he made and so I tagged along on his bootstraps.
2 Computing A technique of loading a program into a computer by means of a few initial instructions which enable the introduction of the rest of the program from an input device.
Example sentences
  • We first used the model to estimate slippage rates and the bootstrap from statistics to compute confidence intervals.
  • The original program performed bootstraps, but we developed additional permutation and resampling options to improve statistical testing.
  • Windows users can download the bootstrap executable from here.
3 [usually as modifier] The technique of starting with existing resources to create something more complex and effective: we see the creative act as a bootstrap process
More example sentences
  • Consider how Cecelia Capture's rise from reservation poverty and the status of welfare mother to successful law student reads on the surface like an affirmation of classic American bootstrap values.
  • In the '80s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said that there was no such thing as society; only individuals rising or falling by their own bootstraps.
  • I need a bit of that bootstrap attitude sprinkled on me.


[with object]
1 Computing fuller form of boot1 (sense 2 of the verb).
2Start up (an Internet-based business or other enterprise) with minimal financial resources.
Example sentences
  • All other things being equal, is a check from his venture fund better than bootstrapping with no cash?
  • While you're bootstrapping along, being all disciplined and staying small and trying to get your ducks in a row, your competitors are spinning like crazy, hiring like crazy, growing like crazy.
  • They're quietly plotting their next hit, bootstrapping now to conserve their equity for later, reasoning that when the economy does pick up, they'll be positioned to move fast.
2.1Get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources: the company is bootstrapping itself out of a marred financial past
More example sentences
  • To the rest of us, someone capable of bootstrapping a whole world must appear a god or a monster.
  • The company is entirely bootstrapped meaning there are no outside investors, which also means a lot fewer headaches.
  • They can bootstrap themselves into the 21st Century in a way other states either can't or won't.


pull (or drag) oneself up by one's (own) bootstraps

Improve one’s position by one’s own efforts.
Example sentences
  • ‘I want to congratulate the farmer-investors, showing they can pulls themselves up by their bootstraps,’ he said.
  • The whole system being proposed by Ashcroft is actually the equivalent of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.
  • It's a bleak view proposed by the Dardennes, and one that flies in the face of old homilies about pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.



Example sentences
  • He seems to think that there are a number of forces at work: poor parenting, low aspirations, a lack of bootstrapping.
  • The bootstrapping from nowhere sounds like wishful thinking to me.
  • In thinking about how bootstrapping might work, we are led to a fuller appreciation of the role of language in supporting the cultural transmission of knowledge.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: boot|strap

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