General English

  • verb to make something better or stronger

Cars & Driving

  • noun a supporting pad, e.g. in a seat or seat back, or a load-supporting beam in a commercial vehicle


  • In concrete, an individual or continuous support used to hold reinforcing bars in position. Usually used in slab work.
  • A short wood or steel member positioned horizontally on top of a column to support beams or girders.
  • A mason's blocking chisel.
  • A piece of wood, generally a nominal 4" in cross section, placed between stickered packages of lumber or other wood products to provide space for the entry and exit of the forks of a lift truck.

Real Estate

  • noun a long firm cylindrical pillow placed under other pillows to support them
  • noun a short horizontal timber positioned between the top of a post and the beam it supports, to spread the load of the post


  • noun a long thick pillow, which is as wide as a double bed
  • noun a thick round part of a knife, linking the blade to the handle

Origin & History of “bolster”

The idea underlying bolster ‘long pillow’ is of something stuffed, so that it swells up. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *bolstraz, which was a derivative of *bolg-, *bulg- (source also of bellows, belly, billow and possibly bell, bellow, and bold). German has the related polster ‘cushion, pillow’.