Use the word "jolt" to describe a sudden, quick movement.

  • When the train came to a sudden stop, the passengers jolted forward.
  • The sound of gunfire sent a jolt through the neighborhood. (People were surprised.)
  • I could feel small jolts of movement beneath my feet during the earthquake.
  • The crisis jolted lawmakers into taking legislative action.
  • The announcement of their divorce jolted everyone in the family. (jolt = shock)

We also use the word "jolt" when describing electricity:

  • John could feel a jolt of electricity from the wire when he touched it with his finger.
  • Jolts of lightning in the distance mean that a storm is coming this way.
  • Once jolted with electric current, Frankenstein came to life.

jolt of lightning A jolt of lightning hit the power line.

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This page was first published on December 21, 2012. It was updated on February 10, 2015.