The Meaning of Bold: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of bold? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word bold, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word bold mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and other sources like Collins English Dictionary or American Heritage, the word bold means brave, or fearless before danger. It can also be used to describe someone who is impudent or presumptuous, or something that stands out prominently like boldface lettering. Bold is an adjective. The pronunciation of bold is bəʊld. One can add the suffixes er and est to create the words bolder and boldest. Many different things can be bold, including bold leadership, a bold speech or bold leader, bold settlers, bold waters, a bold answer, a bold mathematician, bold designs, bold relief or a bold face lie.

Many different languages also contain words that mean bold. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word bold. These are called cognates, which are words that mean the same thing as well as look and sound similar across languages. Cognates are often formed when two words have the same root, or when two languages share a common language of origin such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word bold is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Ido: brava‎, proda‎, kuraja‎, kurajoza‎, kurajema‎
  •  Greek: τολμηρός‎, θαρραλέος‎
  •  Hebrew: אמיץ‎, אמיצה‎
  •  Swedish: modig‎, djärv‎
  •  Mongolian: зоримог‎
  •  Yiddish: מוטיק‎, דרייסט‎
  •  Georgian: გამბედავი‎, გულადი‎
  •  Bulgarian: смел‎ (smel), храбър‎ (hrábǎr)
  •  Mandarin: 膽大‎, 胆大‎ (dǎndà), 勇敢‎ (yǒnggǎn)
  •  Slovak: smelý‎, odvážny‎, opovážlivý‎, trúfalý‎
  •  Esperanto: aŭdaca‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: dàna‎
  •  Japanese: 勇敢‎, 大胆‎
  •  Norwegian: modig‎
  •  Hungarian: bátor‎
  •  Polish: odważny‎, śmiały‎
  •  French: hardi‎, effronté‎
  •  Italian: sfrontato‎, ardito‎, audace‎, coraggioso‎
  •  Armenian: քաջ‎, խիզախ‎, հանդուգն‎
  •  Spanish: audaz‎, intrépido‎, atrevido‎
  •  German: mutig‎, wagemutig‎, tapfer‎, kühn‎
  •  Czech: odvážný‎ (masc.), smělý‎ (masc.), troufalý‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: moedig‎
  •  Danish: modig‎
  •  Catalan: agosarat‎
  •  Cyrillic: одважан‎, храбар‎
  •  Finnish: arastelematon‎, arkailematon‎, karski‎, rohkea‎, röyhkeä‎, selväpiirteinen‎, suorasukainen‎, urhoollinen‎, uskalias‎, voimakas‎
  •  Roman: odvažan‎, hrabar‎
  •  Estonian: julge‎, vahva‎
  •  Irish: dána‎
  •  Portuguese: corajoso‎, bravo‎, audacioso‎
  •  Latin: audans‎, audax‎
  •  Vietnamese: dũng cảm‎, can đảm‎, gan dạ‎
  •  Scots: bauld‎
  •  Russian: сме́лый‎, хра́брый‎, отва́жный‎

How can the word bold be used in a sentence?

The word bold can be used in many different ways in the English language. Below are several examples of bold.

They came up with a bold plan to escape the Emperor. The bold hero knew it meant possible danger, but she was sure they could solve the difficult problem together. 

He had bold handwriting, and used thicker strokes than the ordinary form of the typeface and font. The teacher found his thick heavy lines an interesting choice outside the usual bounds of typography.

The team set out upon their bold adventure in the novel’s bold plot. The reader was excited by the lack of modesty and restraint that the author showed in the work. She was excited to read about the escapades in the mansion and royal court.

While it may have been unconventional, she decided on a bold pattern for her wedding dress. She wanted to stand out whether her family would rebuff her or not. 

The bold leader had a contempt of danger, and was not afraid of the foreign shore, bludd headland or when the bold chalk cliffs of England rise above the sheer descent of rock. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of bold?

There are many different words and phrases that mean the same thing as the word bold. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are a very useful English grammatical device to know because they can help people avoid repeating themselves in written work and conversation as well as expanding their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word bold is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  spirited
  •  audacious
  •  pert
  •  spunky
  •  vivid
  •  coming on strong
  •  loud
  •  manifest
  •  eye-catching
  •  prominent
  •  colorful
  •  insolent
  •  brash
  •  evident
  •  fresh
  •  impudent
  •  fearless
  •  plain
  •  valiant
  •  nervy
  •  gutsy
  •  strong
  •  bold
  •  cheeky
  •  bantam
  •  immodest
  •  presumptuous
  •  clear
  •  definite
  •  undaunted
  •  forward
  •  courageous
  •  gritty
  •  heroic
  •  smart-alecky
  •  confident
  •  forceful
  •  assuming
  •  flashy
  •  smart
  •  shameless
  •  barefaced
  •  dauntless
  •  brave
  •  gallant
  •  showy
  •  pronounced
  •  valorous
  •  aweless
  •  daring
  •  unafraid
  •  rude
  •  adventurous
  •  enterprising
  •  conspicuous
  •  sassy
  •  saucy
  •  intrepid
  •  lively
  •  brassy

There are also many different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word bold. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are another useful English language device to know because they are a simple way to improve your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word bold is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  subtle
  •  controlled
  •  tasteful
  •  dejected
  •  neutral
  •  repressed
  •  inobtrusive
  •  repentant
  •  quiet
  •  solemn
  •  low-key
  •  muted
  •  submissive
  •  soft
  •  moderated
  •  tempered
  •  hushed
  •  unobtrusive
  •  down in the mouth
  •  dim
  •  subdued
  •  chastened
  •  toned down
  •  domesticated
  •  sober
  •  shaded
  •  softened
  •  out of spirits
  •  restrained
  •  sad
  •  downcast
  •  domestic
  •  serious
  •  grave
  •  crestfallen
  •  mellow

What is the origin of the word bold?

According to Etymonline, the word bold comes from the Middle English and Old English beald and West Saxon beald, and the Anglian bald. This word has been used since the mid-13c.  Bold comes from the Proto-Germanic balthaz, which is also the source of Old High German bald, Gothic balþei, Dutch boud, middle High German balt, Old Prussian balo,  Swedish båld, Albanian ballë, and Old Norse ballr. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European roots bhol-to and bhel. One can add the suffixes ly and ness to make the related words boldly (adv.) and boldness (n.).

Overall, the word bold (boʊld) refers to something or someone that is fearless and intrepid. This person may be outside the usual limits of conventional thought or rules of propriety, and this word can be used in a good or bad sense.


  1. Bold | Meaning, Origin, Translation | Word Sense
  2. BOLD Synonyms: 124 Synonyms & Antonyms for BOLD | Thesaurus 
  3. SUBDUED Synonyms: 42 Synonyms & Antonyms for SUBDUED | Thesaurus 
  4. bold | Origin and meaning of bold | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Bold | Definition of Bold | Merriam-Webster