We love words that sound like what they mean, and bolt is no exception. It's a quick, sharp word that either means to move quickly or refers to a stroke of lightning, as in "lightning bolt."

The god Zeus was fond of tossing bolts of lightning down upon mortals who angered him. If you were one of those mortals, you'd have been smart to bolt inside as soon as the rain began. To bolt is to run as quickly as you can. Racehorses are often described as bolting out of the gate. Other uses of bolt include the lock in your door, the act of locking that lock, and what a dog does when it gulps down his food.

Definitions of bolt
  1. noun
    a screw that screws into a nut to form a fastener
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    carriage bolt
    a roundheaded bolt for timber; threaded along part of the shank; inserted into holes already drilled
    expansion bolt
    a bolt that has an attachment that expands as the bolt is driven into a surface
    kingbolt, kingpin, swivel pin
    bolt that provides a steering joint in a motor vehicle
    machine bolt
    a bolt with a square or hexagonal head on one end and a threaded shaft on the other end; tightened with a wrench; used to connect metal parts
    stove bolt
    a small machine bolt
    type of:
    a fastener with a tapered threaded shank and a slotted head
  2. noun
    the part of a lock that is engaged or withdrawn with a key
    synonyms: deadbolt
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    safety bolt, safety lock
    a bolt that cannot be moved from outside the door or gate
    type of:
    a rigid piece of metal or wood; usually used as a fastening or obstruction or weapon
  3. noun
    a sliding bar in a breech-loading firearm that ejects an empty cartridge and replaces it and closes the breech
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    type of:
    a rigid piece of metal or wood; usually used as a fastening or obstruction or weapon
  4. verb
    secure or lock with a bolt
    bolt the door”
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    undo the bolt of
    type of:
    fasten with a lock
  5. noun
    a discharge of lightning accompanied by thunder
    synonyms: bolt of lightning, thunderbolt
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    type of:
    abrupt electric discharge from cloud to cloud or from cloud to earth accompanied by the emission of light
  6. verb
    move or jump suddenly
    “She bolted from her seat”
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    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  7. verb
    leave suddenly and as if in a hurry
    “The listeners bolted when he discussed his strange ideas”
    synonyms: beetle off, bolt out, run off, run out
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    type of:
    go away, go forth, leave
    go away from a place
  8. verb
    run away; usually includes taking something or somebody along
    synonyms: abscond, absquatulate, decamp, go off, make off, run off
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    run off without paying a debt
    type of:
    flee, fly, take flight
    run away quickly
  9. verb
    eat hastily without proper chewing
    “Don't bolt your food!”
    synonyms: gobble
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    type of:
    take in solid food
  10. verb
    swallow hastily
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    type of:
    get down, swallow
    pass through the esophagus as part of eating or drinking
  11. noun
    the act of moving with great haste
    synonyms: dash
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    type of:
    haste, hurry, rush, rushing
    the act of moving hurriedly and in a careless manner
  12. noun
    a sudden abandonment (as from a political party)
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    type of:
    abandonment, desertion, forsaking
    the act of giving something up
  13. noun
    a roll of cloth or wallpaper of a definite length
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    type of:
    anything rolled up in cylindrical form
  14. verb
    make or roll into bolts
    bolt fabric”
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    type of:
    furl, roll up
    form into a cylinder by rolling
  15. adverb
    in a rigid manner
    “he sat bolt upright”
    synonyms: rigidly, stiffly
  16. adverb
    synonyms: bang, slap, slapdash, smack
Word Family

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