How does the term "bolt" have so many diverse meanings?
I've counted 5 meanings so far, none of which seem to be related:
1) lightning bolt
2) bolt on a door or a machine
3) bolt of cloth
4) run away really quickly
How can all these meanings come from a common root?
Oops! I forgot one of my examples:
5) To gobble down your food-- bolt it down
- CindyLv 48 years agoFavorite Answer
I did some web surfing for you trying to answer your question, and I was surprised and even a little confused. The best I can make out is that the word has come together from three different root words: one from Old English; one from old French; and the last an old German word. They all sounded very similar and for the most part had similar meanings.
The web page I've linked below has a list of over 15 - 20 meanings!!! Talk about confusing.
Hope this helps.Source(s): http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bolt
- Karen LLv 78 years ago
That's only four, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see that a lightning bolt and the bolt on a door could have a similar root. And anyway, just because words are spelled alike doesn't necessarily mean they came from the same root.
How about the word fly? As a noun, it can mean an insect or part of a pair of pants. As a verb, it means to move through the air. As an adjective, it means sly or knowing. Those are only some of its uses and we won't even get into the part of a theatre stage known as "the flies".
- Anonymous8 years ago
Our language is just weird, I'm kidding. We adopt definitions from different origins, bolt has definitions from french, middle english, german, etc.