From Middle English bolstre, from Old English bolster (“bolster, cushion”), from Proto-Germanic *bulstraz, *bulstrą (“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 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.
- John Gay
- This arm shall be a bolster for thy head.
- John Gay
- (vehicles, agriculture) A small spacer located on top of the axle of horse-drawn wagons which give the front wheels enough clearance to turn.
- 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).
- The perforated plate in a punching machine on which anything rests when being punched.
- The part of a knife blade that abuts upon the end of the handle.
- The metallic end of a pocketknife handle.
- (architecture) The rolls forming the ends or sides of the Ionic capital.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of G. Francis to this entry?)
- (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.