What Does To Bolt Out of Somewhere Mean?

Bolt Out of Somewhere Meaning

Definition: To leave a place quickly.

To bolt out of somewhere means you are fleeing a scene as quickly as possible because you are afraid of something or you don’t want to see or talk to someone.

People say this phrase when someone runs away from an awkward or frightening situation.

Origin of To Bolt Out of Somewhere

Bolt was originally an Old English noun, meaning a short, stout arrow with a heavy head.

meaning of bolt out of somewhereBy the 13th century, the noun used its connection with a crossbow arrow’s quick flight to mean to spring, to make a quick start. By the early 19th century, people were starting to use bolt to mean to leave suddenly, usually in connection with runaway horses.

One of the earliest examples of bolt in this context is from Sir Walter Scott’s journal from 1826:

  • If you once turn on your side after the hour at which you ought to rise, it is all over. Bolt up at once.

In 1918, W.P. Shervill wrote in Two Daring Young Patriots Or, Outwitting the Huns,

  • Then, after one final fling, he bolted from the room into the bedroom at the back and leapt out of the window.

Examples of To Bolt Out of Somewhere

the phrase to bolt outIn the modern day, people say someone has bolted out of somewhere when he or she has left suddenly and quickly, usually to escape or avoid something or someone.

For example,

  • She bolted out of the room when she saw her ex-boyfriend come in with his new girlfriend.

People also say that animals bolt, as in,

  • When the dog nipped his leg, the horse bolted out of the barn.

More Examples

  • While they were arguing, I bolted out of there. I didn’t even have all of my clothing on. –New York Magazine
  • “We were panicking,” said Christie… “People just bolted out of here to get home for the finish.” –San Francisco Chronicle


The phrase to bolt out of somewhere means to leave as quickly as possible due to the unexpected arrival of someone you want to avoid or a scary incident you want to escape.