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[koh-ster] /ˈkoʊ stər/
a person or thing that coasts.
a small dish, tray, or mat, especially for placing under a glass to protect a table from moisture.
a ship engaged in coastwise trade.
a sled for coasting.
a tray for holding a decanter to be passed around a dining table.
Origin of coaster
First recorded in 1565-75; coast + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coaster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had gone aboard one of the vessels—a coaster from Boston.

  • Then there was some probability of being put in a coaster; which we might run away with.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The brigantine was not a Turks Islands boat, but a coaster from Jamaica.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
  • At sunrise the schooner weighed anchor, in order to accompany the coaster.

    Hair Breadth Escapes T. S. Arthur
  • He was a coaster and he was naturally cautious, as Apple-treers are obliged to be.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • A landsman or boy in a coaster, undeserving the pay of a full-man.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The master of a merchant vessel or coaster in the Mediterranean.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • To meet these difficulties, I hastened the building of my vessel as a coaster.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • Many freighters have what they call a coaster hitched to the last wagon.

    Letters on an Elk Hunt Elinore Pruitt Stewart
British Dictionary definitions for coaster


(Brit) a vessel or trader engaged in coastal commerce
a small tray, sometimes on wheels, for holding a decanter, wine bottle, etc
a person or thing that coasts
a protective disc or mat for glasses or bottles
(US) short for roller coaster
(W African) a European resident on the coast


(NZ) a person from the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coaster

1570s, "one who sails along coasts," agent noun from coast (v.) in its original sense "to go around the sides or border" of something. Applied to vessels for such sailing from 1680s. Tabletop drink stand (c.1887), originally "round tray for a decanter," so called from a resemblance to a sled, or because it "coasted" around the perimeter of the table to each guest in turn after dinner.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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