There are 4 main definitions of bolt in English:

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bolt1

Syllabification: bolt
Pronunciation: /bōlt
 
/

noun

1A metal pin or bar, in particular.
1.1A bar that slides into a socket to fasten a door or window.
Example sentences
  • He reached through the hole in the door and slid the bolt on the inside.
  • To reduce the risk of wandering, put a slide bolt high on every door that leads to the outside or to a stairwell, or use a deadbolt that requires a key.
  • We quickly unload cases, leave them with our bags and personal belongings in the store room and lock the door with the sliding bolt and padlock.
Synonyms
1.2A threaded pin that screws into a nut and is used to fasten things together.
Example sentences
  • Use only non-corrosive nails, bolts and screws to prevent staining.
  • Screws, nails and bolts can all be used in the assembly of the components.
  • Six million bolts hold the bridge together and not a single one has loosened since the bridge was opened in 1932.
Synonyms
1.3The sliding piece of the breech mechanism of a rifle.
Example sentences
  • They replaced the missing bolt in the one rifle and supplied new magazines for the two Camp Reed guns.
  • He pulled back the bolt of the rifle with a sharp snap to ready it.
  • However, with conventional guns, the standing breech acts as a bolt sealing off the rear of the chamber.
1.4(In rock climbing) a long pin that is driven into a rock face so that a rope can be attached to it.
Example sentences
  • Determined not to let it ruin my trip, I ended up getting really good at using my left hand for climbing, and hammering in bolts and pitons.
  • She climbed with effortless grace and clipped the rope to the top bolt.
  • After tightening the bolt and clipping the rope in, I had nothing left to do than test my theory.
2A short heavy arrow shot from a crossbow.
Example sentences
  • Crossbow bolts and arrows passed like clouds across the face of the sun.
  • Rich pulled the trigger of his crossbow and the bolt shot out.
  • They took five shotguns, a longbow, arrows, a crossbow and bolts.
Synonyms
arrow, quarrel, dart, shaft
3A flash of lightning leaving a jagged line across the sky.
Example sentences
  • A great bolt of white lightning flashed out of thin air.
  • A small bolt of lightning flashes, and the thunder follows soon after.
  • A bolt of lightning flashed across the horizon and lit the sky.
Synonyms
flash, thunderbolt, shaft, streak, burst, flare

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Fasten (something) with a metal pin or bar, in particular.
1.1Fasten (a door or window) with a bar that slides into a socket: all the doors were locked and bolted
More example sentences
  • That night, she made sure to double check the locks on all the windows and bolt the door.
  • Anybody who reads the newspapers regularly could be forgiven for locking and bolting the front door and resolving never to set foot outside again.
  • Kelley slipped off her heels with relief, locking and bolting the apartment door.
Synonyms
1.2Fasten (an object) to something else with a bolt: the lid was put into position and bolted down a camera was bolted to the aircraft
More example sentences
  • The frame is securely bolted to the workshop floor.
  • Each center piece was individually bolted to its matching end trusses, and then they too were joined by joists and covered with metal decking.
  • The scissors component was added, the platform was bolted on.
Synonyms
rivet, pin, peg, screw;
fasten, fix

Origin

Old English, 'arrow', of unknown origin; related to Dutch bout and German Bolzen 'arrow, bolt for a door'.

More
  • In Old English bolt meant ‘an arrow’. This is the bolt in bolt upright, ‘with the back very straight’. Why this comparison was made is not clear—bolts are held more or less horizontally to fire, or at least not straight up, which would be dangerous to the archer. To have shot your bolt, ‘be able to do no more’, is also taken from archery. The completely unexpected bolt from the blue, on the other hand, is a thunderbolt, a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder. Such a bolt coming from a totally clear and unclouded sky would indeed be a shock.

Phrases

a bolt from (or out of) the blue

1
A sudden and unexpected event or piece of news: the job came like a bolt from the blue
More example sentences
  • To much of the global community, the events of November 1938 came like a bolt out of the blue.
  • This accusation about Nicky has come like a bolt out of the blue.
  • It would be an understatement to say that it was a bolt out of the blue.

bolt upright

2
Upright, with the back rigid and straight: she sat bolt upright in bed
More example sentences
  • Sarah suddenly sat bolt upright in bed, sweat pouring down her forehead.
  • She woke up with a sudden start and sat bolt upright in bed.
  • My mother sat angrily bolt upright while they read Grandpa's will.
Synonyms

have shot one's bolt

3
informal Have done all that one is able.
Example sentences
  • You can put it down to lack of expertise in playing over five days, a woeful shortage of staying power or, quite simply, they had shot their bolt.
  • We have shot our bolt and couldn't now take similar action elsewhere, even if this were desirable.
  • I had waited all these years for him to slip up and now he has shot his bolt.

Words that rhyme with bolt

colt, dolt, holt, jolt, moult (US molt), poult, smolt, volt

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There are 4 main definitions of bolt in English:

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bolt2

Syllabification: bolt
Pronunciation: /bōlt
 
/

verb

1 [no object] (Of a horse or other animal) run away suddenly out of control: the horses shied and bolted
More example sentences
  • Wearing traditional garb and astride a horse, her cover was blown when the beast bolted and threw her off, exposing her camera.
  • Wild animals shook at the sound of the hounds; deer bolted for the hills.
  • Suddenly a huge bang is heard and both horses bolt for it.
1.1(Of a person) move or run away suddenly: they bolted down the stairs
More example sentences
  • Buddy bolted, bounding down the driveway and across the street, heading right for me.
  • The tavern-master yelled at the figure bolting up the stairs.
  • He then felt a strong impulse coming from his stomach and he then bolted for the nearest bathroom, however he couldn't remember where one was.
Synonyms
flee
informal tear, scoot, leg it
1.2 [with object] (In hunting) cause (a rabbit or fox) to run out of its burrow or hole.
Example sentences
  • The terrier will either bolt the fox or drive it back to a stationary position.
  • We wait until the dog marks an occupied burrow then enter a ferret to hopefully bolt the rabbit.
  • Occasionally, our ferrets are taken along to bolt rabbits from their warrens so the birds can pursue them.
1.3(Of a plant) grow tall quickly and stop flowering as seeds develop: the lettuces have bolted
More example sentences
  • By now most of your herbs have bolted to seed and should be re-planted.
  • The only caveat is they have a tendency to bolt to flower and seed as days become longer in spring.
  • Plants bolt quickly, too, so sow seeds in small batches every few weeks.
2 [with object] (often bolt something down) Eat or swallow (food) quickly: it is normal for puppies to bolt down their food
More example sentences
  • If we bolted our food and ran down the street, we might just catch him before he went off duty, and claim a penny on the empty bottle.
  • Arun seized the bowl and bolted the cold food himself, spurred both by hope and the fledgling's panting breaths.
  • People under stress may also bolt their food, creating extra work for their digestive juices.
Synonyms
gobble up, gulp down, wolf down, guzzle (down), devour
informal demolish, polish off, shovel in/down, scarf up

Origin

Middle English: from bolt1, expressing the sense 'fly like an arrow'.

More
  • In Old English bolt meant ‘an arrow’. This is the bolt in bolt upright, ‘with the back very straight’. Why this comparison was made is not clear—bolts are held more or less horizontally to fire, or at least not straight up, which would be dangerous to the archer. To have shot your bolt, ‘be able to do no more’, is also taken from archery. The completely unexpected bolt from the blue, on the other hand, is a thunderbolt, a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder. Such a bolt coming from a totally clear and unclouded sky would indeed be a shock.

Phrases

make a bolt for

1
Try to escape by moving suddenly toward (something): Ellie made a bolt for the door
More example sentences
  • They were gathered down one end of the pool so I decided to make a bolt for the far side.
  • The alarm went off and they made a bolt for it.
  • She thought about making a bolt for it, but the guy put his hand on her shoulder and whispered ‘Don't even think about it.’
Synonyms
dash, dart, run, sprint, leap, bound

shut the stable door after the horse has bolted

2
Try to avert something bad or unwelcome when it is already too late to do so.
Example sentences
  • It strikes me, how ever, that the government is trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
  • It seems to me that he is trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
  • This is a heavy-handed attempt to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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There are 4 main definitions of bolt in English:

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bolt3

Syllabification: bolt
Pronunciation: /bōlt
 
/

noun

A roll of fabric, originally as a measure: the room is stacked with bolts of cloth
More example sentences
  • You can buy it from fabric stores that stock bolts of fabric, or you can order it from fabric books.
  • The traveling merchants usually stocked bolts of cloth and sewing notions such as needle and thread and had stands on which to measure the cloth.
  • Your closest quilt shop is getting new bolts of fabric in now.
Synonyms
roll, reel, spool;
quantity, amount

Origin

Middle English: transferred use of bolt1.

More
  • In Old English bolt meant ‘an arrow’. This is the bolt in bolt upright, ‘with the back very straight’. Why this comparison was made is not clear—bolts are held more or less horizontally to fire, or at least not straight up, which would be dangerous to the archer. To have shot your bolt, ‘be able to do no more’, is also taken from archery. The completely unexpected bolt from the blue, on the other hand, is a thunderbolt, a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder. Such a bolt coming from a totally clear and unclouded sky would indeed be a shock.

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There are 4 main definitions of bolt in English:

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bolt4

Syllabification: bolt
Pronunciation: /bōlt
 
/
(also boult)

verb

[with object] archaic
Pass (flour, powder, or other material) through a sieve.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French bulter, of unknown ultimate origin. The change in the first syllable was due to association with bolt1.

More
  • In Old English bolt meant ‘an arrow’. This is the bolt in bolt upright, ‘with the back very straight’. Why this comparison was made is not clear—bolts are held more or less horizontally to fire, or at least not straight up, which would be dangerous to the archer. To have shot your bolt, ‘be able to do no more’, is also taken from archery. The completely unexpected bolt from the blue, on the other hand, is a thunderbolt, a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder. Such a bolt coming from a totally clear and unclouded sky would indeed be a shock.

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