Jack was concerned that, when it came to ATMs, too much emphasis was placed on the "physical" defences, such as whether the machine was bolted down, or whether there was CCTV.

bolt down means to eat food very quickly, but it does not make sense here apparently. So is it wrongly used here?

  • No; you've linked to the wrong bolt.
    – J.R.
    Jul 29, 2013 at 2:45
  • Yes, but that one is using the preposition "to", not "down", Which leads me to this one.
    – canoe
    Jul 29, 2013 at 2:51
  • 4
    The dictionary entry uses "to" only in that one particular example. It's not a phrasal verb. Look at the dictionary entry more carefully, it reads: verb [T usually + adv/prep]. The "T" means it's a transitive verb, the "+ adv/prep" means it's usually followed by a prep or adverb (but not necessarily "to"). For example: The diving board was bolted on the platform, an iron plate was bolted over the safety-valve, the lock plate was bolted near the center of the door – all those are valid uses of the word, as is, the ATM was bolted down, so the machine was presumed secure.
    – J.R.
    Jul 29, 2013 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


To eat food quickly is indeed one meaning of to bolt down, but in your example sentence it is used in the literal sense; the machine has bolts in it which fasten it to the floor. Therefore the machine has been bolted down (to the ground). You can see this in the fourth definition on this page, as well as in the image below:

enter image description here

  • 3
    The structure is analogous to "held down", "tied down", "strapped down". They all mean that an object is unable to move and differ in the method by which it is fixed. Jul 29, 2013 at 6:09

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