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1. verb To suddenly sit or stand up from a reclining position. I bolted upright in bed when the phone rang in the middle of the night.
2. adjective Very erect in posture. The teacher instructed us to be bolt upright on the stage during the assembly.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Precisely perpendicular, erect in carriage, as in She sat bolt upright in her pew. This expression was used in slightly different form by Chaucer in the late 1300s: "She was ... long as a mast and upright as a bolt" ( The Miller's Tale).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
bolt ˈuprightwith your back very straight in an upright position: The noise woke her suddenly and she sat bolt upright in bed.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
In a rigidly vertical position: sat bolt upright.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.