Definition of bolster in English:



  • 1A long, thick pillow that is placed under other pillows for support.

    • ‘Wolf still slept, floating on an ocean of peace, his knees up front like a child's, his big hands cradling the chunk of wood on which his head rested, as if it were a bolster stuffed with down.’
    • ‘You could put this against a wall and decorate it with a bolster and cushions to create a day bed that becomes a spare bed at night.’
    • ‘The décor features Thai motifs and fabrics, and there's a nook with colourful bolsters and a sea view.’
    • ‘Sessions were kept short or broken for comfort breaks so that she could be re-positioned with supporting pillows and bolsters.’
    • ‘Place a firm bolster against the wall.’
    • ‘They normally sat cross-legged on the floor, preferably on a carpet with bolsters or pillows.’
    • ‘In supine poses the back rests on a bolster or higher support while the legs are crossed simply or placed in different positions.’
    • ‘It does have cool round green rugs on the floor and a fuzzy green bolster on the bed.’
    • ‘Pillows or bolsters might be used to position you during the massage.’
    • ‘If you can't reach the floor, use a pillow or bolster to prop up your feet.’
    • ‘Instead of pillows they had what are called bolsters.’
    • ‘I was dying to be with my pals and witness the crawling procession, but I had been made to hold a bottle of rose water, which I must sprinkle on the guests as they sat down on carpets, leaning against bolsters.’
    • ‘The cushions and pillows and bolster were all bright red, as was the canopy that draped itself over the posts of her bed, and dangled in soft muslin ruches.’
    • ‘I throw a pillow over my face and take a bolster and sandwich it between my legs.’
    • ‘The patient's heel was placed on a bolster so that the knee could be fully hyperextended.’
    • ‘Lying on your back, place a bolster or pillow under the bottom edges of your shoulder blades so that your arms can comfortably extend out to the sides or overhead.’
    • ‘Sit with your knees together and your buttocks on your heels (or resting on a bolster if you suffer from knee pain).’
    • ‘Yoga merchandising too is a hit - mats, videos, blocks, towels, music, rugs, bolsters, scented oils and even getaways are on sale.’
    • ‘Both are sandwiched into a small swing between fat pink silk bolsters so there isn't much room for coyness.’
    • ‘Aside from formula, Nadiyah's parents have taken all her favorite items with them, including a pillow and a bolster, to help make the pilgrimage a rewarding experience for her.’
    pillow, cushion, pad, support, rest
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A part of a vehicle or tool providing structural support.
      • ‘The handle scales are made of nicely figured redwood and the bolsters are made of stainless steel.’
      • ‘The scales - offered in a variety of synthetic and natural materials - are dovetailed into the bolsters, protecting them from the forces of stress or shear.’
      • ‘The bolsters, handle. pivot pin and release mechanism all presented unique technical challenges.’
      • ‘All feature stacked leather washer handles with double steel bolsters.’
      • ‘The modified double-ground blade and angular bolsters flow into a handle that fits the palm like a glove.’
      • ‘Once again, titanium bolsters and liners are standard.’
      • ‘To fit the articulated truck onto the trailer, one end of the truck was placed atop the trailer bolster.’
      • ‘Colorful handles and titanium bolsters are also present on the best - selling lines.’
      • ‘The left model sports titanium bolsters and carbon fiber scales, the model at right has an all-titanium frame with machined arcs to enhance the grip.’
      • ‘Another safety enhancement is the tiny sliding safety switch at the top of the bolster.’
      • ‘The folding arm rest fits in the inside bolster that is bigger than the outside bolster.’
      • ‘These screwdrivers had a forged one-piece tempered blade including a bolster and special wings on two sides.’
      • ‘Pullman made a slight change to the crosspiece in the handle and added integral wings on the shank under the bolster.’
    2. 1.2Building A short timber cap over a post designed to increase the bearing of the beams it supports.


  • 1 Support or strengthen; prop up.

    ‘the fall in interest rates is starting to bolster confidence’
    ‘he wished to bolster up his theories with hard data’
    • ‘The object is a personal digital assistant capable of supporting field commanders and bolstering their memories.’
    • ‘I hoped even the smallest success would bolster my confidence.’
    • ‘These relationships can also bolster trial enrollment by providing better access to both the targeted patients and the referring physicians for the study.’
    • ‘It is so easy to go out and play when you are relaxed and when you have a manager who bolsters your confidence like that.’
    • ‘If stress becomes apparent to the coach, he should attempt to bolster confidence with moral support.’
    • ‘It doesn't do much to bolster confidence in them.’
    • ‘In this connection it is necessary to remind oneself that people do give untruthful evidence for other reasons, including for example, an attempt to bolster up the truth.’
    • ‘While working to bolster this great strength, she also took its perceived weaknesses in hand.’
    • ‘Subsidised destruction is, arguably, the most successful way not just to restore consumer confidence, but to bolster the market.’
    • ‘Therefore, it was imperative Dutch traders find new and lucrative markets to bolster their economy and provide the funds needed to continue the war against Spain.’
    • ‘To bolster their market strength today, producers must have the ability to do more than negotiate with the local canner or grocery store.’
    • ‘In addition to improving prairie health, this would bolster tourism by providing a connection to prairie-region natural history and cultural heritage.’
    • ‘They took high premiums to bolster up the funds.’
    • ‘Numerous products claim to bolster strength or endurance in sports.’
    • ‘Retailers rely heavily upon the period to bolster their annual sales and profits.’
    • ‘The ‘slammers’ advocate bold and decisive action: a cut that will bolster markets and business confidence.’
    • ‘Any and every incident was seized upon to bolster police powers and strengthen the state apparatus.’
    • ‘This in turn provides social stability to bolster food production and distribution.’
    • ‘For a nation that prides itself on giving generous donations to bolster up a welfare service that ought to be the primary care of government, this kind of treatment is deplorable.’
    • ‘The potion did much to bolster her strength, but her lungs were soon burning, and her heart felt as though it would burst.’
    strengthen, support, reinforce, make stronger, boost, fortify, give a boost to
    prop up, buoy up, shore up, hold up, maintain, buttress, brace, stiffen, uphold
    aid, assist, help
    supplement, augment, feed, add to, increase
    revitalize, invigorate, renew, regenerate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Provide (a seat) with padded support.
      ‘I snuggled down into the heavily bolstered seat’
      • ‘The seats are well bolstered and leather trim is also available.’


Old English (in the sense long, thick pillow), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bolster and German Polster.