• (British) IPA: /ˈbəʊlstə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈboʊlstɚ/

bolster (plural bolsters)

  1. A large cushion or pillow.
    • 1590–92, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, act 4, scene 1 ↗:
      And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
      This way the coverlet, another way the sheets.
  2. A pad, quilt, or anything used to hinder pressure, support part of the body, or make a bandage sit easy upon a wounded part; a compress.
    • This arm shall be a bolster for thy head.
  3. (vehicles, agriculture) A small spacer located on top of the axle of horse-drawn wagons that gives the front wheels enough clearance to turn.
  4. A short, horizontal structural timber between a post and a beam for enlarging the bearing area of the post and/or reducing the span of the beam.
    Synonyms: cross-head, pillow
  5. A beam in the middle of a railway truck, supporting the body of the car.
  6. The perforated plate in a punching machine on which anything rests when being punched.
  7. The part of a knife blade that abuts upon the end of the handle.
  8. The metallic end of a pocketknife handle.
  9. (architecture) The rolls forming the ends or sides of the Ionic capital.
  10. (military, historical) A block of wood on the carriage of a siege gun, upon which the breech of the gun rests when arranged for transportation.
Synonyms Translations Verb

bolster (bolsters, present participle bolstering; past and past participle bolstered)

  1. (transitive, often, figurative) To brace, reinforce, secure, or support.
Proper noun
  1. Surname

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