adjective, bold·er, bold·est.

  1. not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero.
  2. not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent: He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor.
  3. necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure.
  4. beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative: Einstein was a bold mathematician. a difficult problem needing a bold answer.
  5. striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy: a bold pattern.
  6. steep; abrupt: a bold promontory.
  7. Nautical. deep enough to be navigable close to the shore: bold waters.
  8. Printing. typeset in boldface.
  9. Obsolete. trusting; assured.
  1. be/make (so) bold, to presume or venture; dare: I made bold to offer my suggestion.


  1. courageous, confident, and fearless; ready to take risks
  2. showing or requiring couragea bold plan
  3. immodest or impudentshe gave him a bold look
  4. standing out distinctly; conspicuousa figure carved in bold relief
  5. very steepthe bold face of the cliff
  6. imaginative in thought or expressionthe novel’s bold plot
  7. printing set in bold face


  1. printing short for bold face

Old English beald (West Saxon), bald (Anglian) “bold, brave, confident, strong,” from Proto-Germanic *balthaz (cf. Old High German bald “bold, swift,” in names such as Archibald, Leopold, Theobald; Gothic balþei “boldness;” Old Norse ballr “frightful, dangerous”), perhaps from PIE *bhol-to- suffixed form of *bhel- (2) “to blow, swell” (see bole).

Of flavors (coffee, etc.) from 1829. The noun meaning “those who are bold” is from c.1300. Old French and Provençal baut “bold,” Italian baldo “bold, daring, fearless” are Germanic loan-words.

In addition to the idiom beginning with bold

  • bold as brass

also see:

  • big and bold
  • make bold
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