I am giving some possible meanings.
1. Bootstrapping is a computer science and computer engineering word. It is also use in general English too. Bootstrapping means self starting of the computer system by itself with minimum support or input from external world or user.
When the computer is switched on, the operating system software (a program containing set of instructions that the processor must execute) is loaded in to the main memory (RAM) associated with the computer. This program is very huge. So it cannot be loaded in one step in a convenient way. So the booting or bringing up of a computer is done in multiple stages.
In the bootstrapping stage, a small set of instructions is loaded from a permanent memory (EPROM) present inside the computer, in to the main memory and executed. This software checks for the presence and correct functioning of all compulsory basic devices (keyboard, disk, memory, bus etc.). It reads the operating system software program from the predesignated booting device (like the hard disk) and then loads into the main memory. Then the control is passed to that operating system. The bootstrapping software is a system software and is at a lower level. Also bootstrapping software contains diagnostics procedures.
The operating system checks the computer and all devices connected to it thoroughly. The user friendly interface is provided for the user to make use of applications.
2. In the world of software program interpreters, compilers and assemblers, the process of developing that software in terms of instructions in the same language is called bootstrapping. The description of the language is done using grammar in the same language. Initially some basic and simple compiler is developed. Then this compiler is enhanced by adding more and more instructions in the same language. These are translated into instructions which are already executable.
In essence, a compiler for a language is written in the same language. Self hosting of the compiler is done.
It is like learning a language using words in the same language only and without use of any foreign language.
3. In the world of companies and organizations, bootstrapping means self sustaining of small startup companies in terms of finance and other resources. The initial investment is small. They use their own resources and work to earn income or generate funds for their sustenance and growth. After some stipulated period, they are able to increase their productivity, and show a working product or experience in service capability. Then they are able to market their products or services to establish themselves in the world.
Bootstrapping is the alternative to financial and other help from a sponsoring or parent organization.