Bolster work
Bolster Bol"ster (b[=o]l"st[~e]r; 110), n. [AS. bolster; akin to Icel. b[=o]lstr, Sw. & Dan. bolster, OHG. bolstar, polstar, G. polster; from the same root as E. bole stem, bowl hollow vessel. Cf. {Bulge}, {Poltroon}.] 1. A long pillow or cushion, used to support the head of a person lying on a bed; -- generally laid under the pillows. [1913 Webster]

And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster, This way the coverlet, another way the sheets. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. A pad, quilt, or anything used to hinder pressure, support any part of the body, or make a bandage sit easy upon a wounded part; a compress. [1913 Webster]

This arm shall be a bolster for thy head. --Gay. [1913 Webster]

3. Anything arranged to act as a support, as in various forms of mechanism, etc. [1913 Webster]

4. (Saddlery) A cushioned or a piece part of a saddle. [1913 Webster]

5. (Naut.) (a) A cushioned or a piece of soft wood covered with tarred canvas, placed on the trestletrees and against the mast, for the collars of the shrouds to rest on, to prevent chafing. (b) Anything used to prevent chafing. [1913 Webster]

6. A plate of iron or a mass of wood under the end of a bridge girder, to keep the girder from resting directly on the abutment. [1913 Webster]

7. A transverse bar above the axle of a wagon, on which the bed or body rests. [1913 Webster]

8. The crossbeam forming the bearing piece of the body of a railway car; the central and principal cross beam of a car truck. [1913 Webster]

9. (Mech.) the perforated plate in a punching machine on which anything rests when being punched. [1913 Webster]

10. (Cutlery) (a) That part of a knife blade which abuts upon the end of the handle. (b) The metallic end of a pocketknife handle. --G. Francis. [1913 Webster]

11. (Arch.) The rolls forming the ends or sides of the Ionic capital. --G. Francis. [1913 Webster]

12. (Mil.) A block of wood on the carriage of a siege gun, upon which the breech of the gun rests when arranged for transportation.

Note: [See Illust. of {Gun carriage}.] [1913 Webster]

{Bolster work} (Arch.), members which are bellied or curved outward like cushions, as in friezes of certain classical styles. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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