Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jolt n.

1. in context of drink or drugs.

(a) (US drugs) a measure of a drug as taken by a user, esp. an injection of a narcotic; occas. of a non-recreational drug (see cit. 1930); thus overjolt

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 16: I wonder if I can bull this pill roller into selling me a jolt.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 19: He would take a jolt of opium at the place at the corner of Formosa Street.
[UK]E. Murphy Black Candle 294: It was requisite that he take a ‘jolt’ of cocaine.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 22 June 12/3: Gradually she accustomed herself to three ‘shots’ or ‘jolts’ [of morphine] daily.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 136: That rat, Finnery, the trusty [...] has got a ton of it [i.e. morphine] out there to sell, but he wouldn’t give us a jolt if we had the horrors.
[US](con. 1910s) L. Nason A Corporal Once 296: They’ll slip him a big jolt of castor oil.
[US]J. Tully Shadows of Men 213: When too destitute to ‘make a buy’ [...] he would seek other addicts and tell them marvelous tales until they would give him a ‘jolt’.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Golden Spike 125: He was getting sick and needed a jolt.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 108: It was very weak stuff, he found, and he had to take an extra jolt just to get himself straight.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 143: They had given her the jolt of the stuff that Charlie had brought.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 133: Chemo [...] had rejected a general anaesthetic in favor of an old-fashioned intravenous jolt of Demerol.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 80: Curt sells, then gets his midday jolt at Blue’s.
A. Kleinzahler Cutty one Rock (2005) 171: My brother liked to smoke a little weed first, and as the initial LSD rush was coming on, to enjoy a jolt of amyl nitrate.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 159: he could use another jolt, but was out of cocaine.

(b) a stiff drink of spirits, esp. brandy, whisky or bourbon.

[UK]R. Beach Pardners (1912) 88: I [...] had my arm dressed and a big jolt of whisky.
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 83: That does mostly only be when she’ll have a few jolts of whiskey taken.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald III (1960) 233: We’ll take you to some secluded nook and give you a wee jolt of Bourbon.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Madame La Gimp’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 251: Mr. Conde gets a couple of jolts of the old grape.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Daughter of Murder’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] I [...] sloshed a jolt of Scotch in a glass, made her dribble it down the hatch.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 209: Wade came back with a bottle and a glass. He sat down on the couch and poured a stiff jolt and sucked it down.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 53: He’d poured another stiff jolt.
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 67: Christ that’s good brandy. [...] Fucking stuff has got a real jolt.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] I took another jolt of vodka, a bigger one.
[US]J. Stahl Bad Sex on Speed 121: Only a real punk would wipe his mouth before taking a jolt off another man’s whiskey.

(c) (US) the effects of a drug or alcohol, a ‘kick’.

[US]J. Fishman Crucibles of Crime 121: They will use any substance which will give them the desired ‘kick’ or ‘jolt’. These drugs include cocaine, heroin.
[US]E. Hunter ‘Vicious Circle’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 35: Marijuana was candy to Turk. It never gave him a jolt.
[US]P. Rabe My Lovely Executioner (2006) 133: And then like a big, wonderful breath that unlimbers the cramp everywhere, when you get the jolt.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 126: I was quivering like a joker in the hot seat at the first jolt.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 251: I got a jolt that sent streams of smoke from my hair ends.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 13: Jolt — Strong reaction to drugs.

(d) as non-drug ext. of sense 2c, a thrill.

[US]P. Rabe Benny Muscles In (2004) 250: ‘That give you a jolt, huh?’ [...] ‘I get my jolts elsewhere,’ she said. ‘Almost anywhere else.’.

2. (US Und.) a prison sentence, usu. with the number of years specified, e.g. a seven-year jolt.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Informal Execution of Soupbone Pew’ in From First to Last (1954) 75: Muller got a long jolt for the job; the Shine got a shorter one and escaped a little bit later on.
[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 25: Whenever I get a ‘jolt’ in the can (county jail) they make me ‘kick out’ my habit in the ‘tanks’.
[US]G. Milburn ‘They Can’t Do That’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 233: When you’ve just been framed by an upright judge / For a ten year jolt or so.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 28: Funny, that I got less of a jolt in the can than you got.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 12: It was certain that Doc was getting a pardon on his second and last jolt.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 232: During his second jolt he started to master the prison techniques he would later perfect.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 143: I’m scared shitless . . . I can’t stand another jolt.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 39: A loose nationwide cartel of sorts that kept in touch via three-to-five jolts and visitation privileges.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 285: Had I done what Bobby did over the course of his criminal career, I would have spent my entire life in prison rather than a mere eighteen years in three jolts.
[UK] (ref. to 1971) F. Dennis ‘Old Bailey’ Homeless in my Heart 179: Beginning to learn what is meant / By a jolt or toad in the hole, / By Baron; or dint or dunt.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 30: Twenty minutes later another guard told me to roll up. I’d done nine months on a two-year jolt.

3. (US) a job.

[US](con. late 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 437: It ain’t no nine-to-five jolt or like fuckin school shit, man.

4. execution in the electric chair.

T. Thursday ‘Score None for the Chair’ in Smashing Detective Sept. [Internet] Right now he’s just playing the old game of Chair-Ducking, hoping to win life instead of the Big Jolt.

5. (US) a train.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 133: When I first come to New Orleans I was a ’bo hopped off a jolt.

6. in non-custodial use of sense 2, a period of time within an institution, e.g. a hospital.

[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 34: I got pneumonia twice. Two-week jolts at County General cured me.

In phrases

shake one’s jolt (v.)

(US prison) to interfere with the way another person is dealing with their sentence.

[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 263: That was the Mexican’s quarrel, not yours. What did I tell you about shaking another man’s jolt?

SE in slang uses

In phrases

give someone the jolts (v.) [SE jolts, electric shocks]

(US) to execute in the electric chair.

[US]E. Torres Q&A 131: None of the DAs wanna go up to Sing Sing when they’re giving someone the jolts.