from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bar made of wood or metal that slides into a socket and is used to fasten doors and gates.
  • n. A metal bar or rod in the mechanism of a lock that is thrown or withdrawn by turning the key.
  • n. A fastener consisting of a threaded pin or rod with a head at one end, designed to be inserted through holes in assembled parts and secured by a mated nut that is tightened by applying torque.
  • n. A sliding metal bar that positions the cartridge in breechloading rifles, closes the breech, and ejects the spent cartridge.
  • n. A similar device in any breech mechanism.
  • n. A short, heavy arrow with a thick head, used especially with a crossbow.
  • n. A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt.
  • n. A sudden or unexpected event: The announcement was a veritable bolt.
  • n. A sudden movement toward or away.
  • n. A large roll of cloth of a definite length, especially as it comes from the loom.
  • transitive v. To secure or lock with or as if with a bolt.
  • transitive v. To arrange or roll (lengths of cloth, for example) on or in a bolt.
  • transitive v. To eat (food) hurriedly and with little chewing; gulp.
  • transitive v. To desert or withdraw support from (a political party).
  • transitive v. To utter impulsively; blurt.
  • transitive v. Archaic To shoot or discharge (a missile, such as an arrow).
  • intransitive v. To move or spring suddenly.
  • intransitive v. To start suddenly and run away: The horse bolted at the sound of the shot. The frightened child bolted from the room.
  • intransitive v. To break away from an affiliation, as from a political party.
  • intransitive v. Botany To flower or produce seeds prematurely or develop a flowering stem from a rosette.
  • idiom bolt from the blue A sudden, shocking surprise or turn of events.
  • idiom bolt upright In a rigidly vertical position: sat bolt upright.
  • transitive v. To pass (flour, for example) through a sieve.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A (usually) metal fastener consisting of a cylindrical body that is threaded, with a larger head on one end. It can be inserted into an unthreaded hole up to the head, with a nut then threaded on the other end; a heavy machine screw.
  • n. A sliding pin or bar in a lock or latch mechanism.
  • n. A bar of wood or metal dropped in horizontal hooks on a door and adjoining wall or between the two sides of a double door, to prevent the door(s) from being forced open.
  • n. A sliding mechanism to chamber and unchamber a cartridge in a firearm.
  • n. A shaft or missile intended to be shot from a crossbow or a catapult, especially a short, stout arrow.
  • n. A lightning spark, i.e., a lightning bolt.
  • n. A sudden event, action or emotion.
  • n. A large roll of fabric or similar material, as a bolt of cloth.
  • n. The standard linear measurement of canvas for use at sea: 39 yards.
  • v. To connect or assemble pieces using a bolt.
  • v. To secure a door by locking or barring it.
  • v. To flee, to depart, to accelerate suddenly.
  • v. To escape.
  • v. Of a plant, to grow quickly; to go to seed.
  • v. To swallow food without chewing it.
  • v. To drink one's drink very quickly; to down a drink.
  • v. To sift the bran and germ from wheat flour.
  • v. To sift, especially through a cloth.
  • n. A sieve, especially a long fine sieve used in milling for bolting flour and meal; a bolter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In the manner of a bolt; suddenly; straight; unbendingly.
  • n. A shaft or missile intended to be shot from a crossbow or catapult, esp. a short, stout, blunt-headed arrow; a quarrel; an arrow, or that which resembles an arrow; a dart.
  • n. Lightning; a thunderbolt.
  • n. A strong pin, of iron or other material, used to fasten or hold something in place, often having a head at one end and screw thread cut upon the other end.
  • n. A sliding catch, or fastening, as for a door or gate; the portion of a lock which is shot or withdrawn by the action of the key.
  • n. An iron to fasten the legs of a prisoner; a shackle; a fetter.
  • n. A compact package or roll of cloth, as of canvas or silk, often containing about forty yards.
  • n. A bundle, as of oziers.
  • n. A sudden spring or start; a sudden spring aside.
  • n. A sudden flight, as to escape creditors.
  • n. A refusal to support a nomination made by the party with which one has been connected; a breaking away from one's party.
  • n. A sieve, esp. a long fine sieve used in milling for bolting flour and meal; a bolter.
  • intransitive v. To start forth like a bolt or arrow; to spring abruptly; to come or go suddenly; to dart.
  • intransitive v. To strike or fall suddenly like a bolt.
  • intransitive v. To spring suddenly aside, or out of the regular path.
  • intransitive v. To refuse to support a nomination made by a party or a caucus with which one has been connected; to break away from a party.
  • transitive v. To shoot; to discharge or drive forth.
  • transitive v. To utter precipitately; to blurt or throw out.
  • transitive v. To swallow without chewing; ; often used with down.
  • transitive v. To refuse to support, as a nomination made by a party to which one has belonged or by a caucus in which one has taken part.
  • transitive v. To cause to start or spring forth; to dislodge, as conies, rabbits, etc.
  • transitive v. To fasten or secure with, or as with, a bolt or bolts, as a door, a timber, fetters; to shackle; to restrain.
  • transitive v. To sift or separate the coarser from the finer particles of, as bran from flour, by means of a bolter; to separate, assort, refine, or purify by other means.
  • transitive v. To separate, as if by sifting or bolting; -- with out.
  • transitive v. To discuss or argue privately, and for practice, as cases at law.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go off like a bolt or arrow; shoot forth suddenly; spring out with speed and suddenness: commonly followed by out: as, to bolt out of the house.
  • To spring aside or away suddenly; start and run off; make a bolt.
  • In politics, to withdraw from a nominating convention as a means of showing disapproval of its acts; hence, to cease to act in full accord with one's party; refuse to support a measure or candidate adopted by a majority of one's colleagues or party associates.
  • To fall suddenly, like a thunderbolt.
  • To run to seed prematurely, as early-sown root-crops (turnips, etc.), without the usual thickening of the root, or after it.
  • To send off like a bolt or arrow; shoot; discharge.
  • To start or spring (game); cause to bolt up or out, as hares, rabbits, and the like.
  • To expel; drive out suddenly.
  • To blurt out; ejaculate or utter hastily.
  • To swallow hurriedly or without chewing: as, to bolt one's food.
  • [After I., 3.] In politics, to break away from and refuse to support (the candidate, the ticket, or the platform presented by or in the name of the party to which one has hitherto adhered); leave or abandon: as, to bolt the presidential candidate.
  • To fasten or secure with a bolt or an iron pin, as a door, a plank, fetters, or anything else.
  • To fasten as with bolts; shackle; restrain.
  • Like a bolt or arrow: as, “rising bolt from his seat,”
  • Suddenly; with sudden meeting or collision.
  • To sift or pass through a sieve or bolter so as to separate the coarser from the finer particles, as bran from flour; sift out: as, to bolt meal; to bolt out the bran.
  • To examine or search into, as if by sifting; sift; examine thoroughly: sometimes with out, and often in an old proverbial expression, to bolt to the bran.
  • To moot, or bring forward for discussion, as in a moot-court. See bolting, 2.
  • In archery, to loose too soon after drawing the bow. See hold.
  • In golf, to putt with so much force that the ball will go some distance past the hole if it fails to go into it.
  • n. An arrow; especially, in archery, the arrow of a crossbow, which was short and thick as compared with a shaft.
  • n. A thunderbolt; a stream of lightning: so named from its apparently darting like a bolt.
  • n. An elongated bullet for a rifled cannon.
  • n. A cylindrical jet, as of water or molten glass.
  • n. A metallic pin or rod, used to hold objects together. It generally has screwthreads cut at one end, and sometimes at both, to receive a nut.
  • n. A movable bar for fastening a door, gate, window-sash, or the like; specifically, that portion of a lock which is protruded from or drawn back within the case by the action of the key, and makes a fastening by being shot into a socket or keeper.
  • n. An iron to fasten the legs of a prisoner; a shackle.
  • n. In firearms: In a needle-gun, the sliding piece that thrusts the cartridge forward into the chamber and carries the firing-pin.
  • n. In a snap-gun, the part that holds the barrel to the breech-mechanism.
  • n. A roll or definite length of silk, canvas, tape, or other textile fabric, and also of wall-paper, as it comes from the maker ready for sale or use.
  • n. A bundle. Of straw, a quantity loosely tied up. Also bolting or bolton.
  • n. Of osier rods, a quantity bound up for market, 3½ feet around the lower band.
  • n. Of reeds, one of 3 feet in circumference.
  • n. The closed ends of leaves of an uncut book which present a double or quadruple fold.
  • n. The comb of a bobbinnet machine on which the carriages move.
  • n. In wood-working: A mass of wood from which anything may be cut or formed.
  • n. Boards held together, after being sawed from the log, by an uncut end or stub-shot.
  • n. A name for certain plants, as the globe-flower and marsh-marigold.
  • n. The act of running off suddenly; a sudden spring or start: as, the horse made a bolt.
  • n. In politics, the act of withdrawing from a nominating convention as a manifestation of disapproval of its acts; hence, refusal to support a candidate or the ticket presented by or in the name of the party to which one has hitherto been attached; a partial or temporary desertion of one's party.
  • n. The act of bolting food.
  • n. A sieve; a machine for sifting flour.
  • n. In the English inns of court, a hypothetical point or case discussed for the sake of practice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a screw that screws into a nut to form a fastener
  • v. make or roll into bolts
  • v. swallow hastily
  • n. a sudden abandonment (as from a political party)
  • v. run away; usually includes taking something or somebody along
  • adv. directly
  • n. the act of moving with great haste
  • n. the part of a lock that is engaged or withdrawn with a key
  • n. a roll of cloth or wallpaper of a definite length
  • v. secure or lock with a bolt
  • v. leave suddenly and as if in a hurry
  • v. eat hastily without proper chewing
  • n. a sliding bar in a breech-loading firearm that ejects an empty cartridge and replaces it and closes the breech
  • v. move or jump suddenly
  • adv. in a rigid manner
  • n. a discharge of lightning accompanied by thunder


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English, heavy arrow.
Middle English bulten, from Old French buleter, from Middle High German biuteln, from biutel, bag, purse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Proto-Germanic *bultaz, perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *bheld- (“to knock, strike”). Akin to Dutch bout, German Bolz or Bolzen, Icelandic bolti, Danish bolt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bulten, from Anglo-Norman buleter, cognate with Middle High German biuteln ("to sift")



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  • "bolt" in Hungarian means: shop / store

    August 1, 2012

  • Also the surname of Usain Bolt, the best, and best-named, sprinter in the world.

    August 24, 2008

  • A short arrow fired from a crossbow.

    August 24, 2008

  • "Swallow hastily"

    August 13, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: bolted in place vs. bolted as a horse.

    January 31, 2007