Online Encyclopedia

BOLT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 180 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BOLT, an O. Eng. word (compare Ger. Bolz, an arrow), for a " quarrel" or cross-bow shaft, or the pin which fastened a door. From the swift flight of an arrow comes the verb " to bolt," as applied to a horse, &c., and such expressions as " bolt upright," meaning straight upright; also the American use of " bolt" for refusing to support a candidate nominated by one's own party. In the sense of a straight pin for a fastening, the word has come to mean various sorts of appliances. From the sense of " fastening together " is derived the use of the word " bolt " as a definite length (in a roll) of a fabric (40 ft. of canvas, &c.). From another " bolt " or " boult," to sift (through O. Fr. buleter, from the Med. Lat. buretare or buletare), come such expressions as in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale, " The fann'd. snow, That's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er," or such a figurative use as in Burke's " The report of the committee was examined and sifted and bolted to the bran." From this sense comes that of to moot, or discuss, as in Milton's Comus, " I hate when vice can bolt her arguments."
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