- a small gravity railroad, especially in an amusement park, having a train with open cars that moves along a high, sharply winding trestle built with steep inclines that produce sudden, speedy plunges for thrill-seeking passengers.
- a car or train of cars for such a railroad.
- any phenomenon, period, or experience of persistent or violent ups and downs, as one fluctuating between prosperity and recession or elation and despair.
Origin of roller coaster
First recorded in 1885–90
- to go up and down like a roller coaster; rise and fall: a narrow road roller-coastering around the mountain; a light boat roller-coastering over the waves.
- to experience a period of prosperity, happiness, security, or the like, followed by a contrasting period of economic depression, despair, or the like: The economy was roller-coastering throughout most of the decade.
- of, relating to, or characteristic of a roller coaster.
- resembling the progress of a ride on a roller coaster in sudden extreme changeableness.
Origin of roller-coaster
First recorded in 1960–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rollercoaster
The next few months are a rollercoaster ride of good, bad, and ugly during which I discover two things.An Epidemic of Absence: Destroying the Bugs in Our Bodies Can Be Dangerous to Our Health
September 9, 2012
The next morning, you wish you had resisted, but as your day gets moving the rollercoaster starts again.The New Fat Hazard
Susan B. Roberts
June 26, 2009
Andrew Neil on the overnight rollercoaster in Europe and Asia's markets.Iceland Crisis: Panic Spreads
October 7, 2008
- another term for big dipper
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
Word Origin and History for rollercoaster
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper