From Middle English bolstre, from Old English bolster (“bolster, cushion”), from Proto-Germanic *bulstraz, *bulstran (“bolster”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰelǵʰ- (“bag, pillow, paunch”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- (“to swell, blow, inflate, burst”). Cognate with Scots bowster (“bolster”), West Frisian bulster (“mattress”), Dutch bolster (“husk, shell”), German Polster (“bolster, pillow, pad”), Swedish bolster (“soft mattress, bolster”), Icelandic bólstur (“pillow”).
bolster (plural bolsters)
- A large cushion or pillow.
- 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. Sometimes also called a pillow or cross-head (Australian English).