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roller coaster

noun
1.
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.
2.
a car or train of cars for such a railroad.
3.
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
1885-1890
1885-90

roller-coaster

[roh-ler-koh-ster, roh-li-] /ˈroʊ lərˌkoʊ stər, ˈroʊ lɪ-/
verb (used without object)
1.
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.
2.
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.
adjective
3.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a roller coaster.
4.
resembling the progress of a ride on a roller coaster in sudden extreme changeableness.
Origin
1960-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for rollercoaster

roller coaster

noun
1.
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
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Contemporary definitions for rollercoaster
adjective

changing between good and bad; uncontrollable or unstable

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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Word Origin and History for rollercoaster
n.

also roller-coaster, and originally roller coaster, by 1884, perhaps mid-1870s, from roller + coaster. As a verb by 1959.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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