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coast

[kohst]
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noun
  1. the land next to the sea; seashore: the rocky coast of Maine.
  2. the region adjoining it: They live on the coast, a few miles from the sea.
  3. a hill or slope down which one may slide on a sled.
  4. a slide or ride down a hill or slope, as on a sled.
  5. Obsolete. the boundary or border of a country.
  6. the Coast, Informal. (in the U.S. and Canada) the region bordering on the Pacific Ocean; the West Coast: I'm flying out to the Coast next week.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to slide on a sled down a snowy or icy hillside or incline.
  2. to descend a hill or the like, as on a bicycle, without using pedals.
  3. to continue to move or advance after effort has ceased; keep going on acquired momentum: We cut off the car engine and coasted for a while.
  4. to advance or proceed with little or no effort, especially owing to one's actual or former assets, as wealth, position, or name, or those of another: The actor coasted to stardom on his father's name.
  5. to sail along, or call at the various ports of, a coast.
  6. Obsolete. to proceed in a roundabout way.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to move along under acquired momentum: to coast a rocket around the sun.
  2. to proceed along or near the coast of.
  3. Obsolete. to keep alongside of (a person moving).
  4. Obsolete. to go by the side or border of.
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Idioms
  1. the coast is clear, no danger or impediment exists; no persons are in the path or vicinity: The boys waited until the coast was clear before climbing over the wall.
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Origin of coast

1325–75; (noun) Middle English cost(e) < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin costa rib, side, wall; (v.) Middle English cost(e)yen, costen < Anglo-French costeier, Old French costoier, derivative of the noun

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

shorebeachbankshorelinecoastlineseaboardskatesaildriftcruiseseashoremarginstrandseasideseacoastlittoralslidefloattaxifreewheel

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British Dictionary definitions for coast

coast

noun
    1. the line or zone where the land meets the sea or some other large expanse of water
    2. (in combination)coastland
    Related adjective: littoral
  1. British the seaside
  2. US
    1. a slope down which a sledge may slide
    2. the act or an instance of sliding down a slope
  3. obsolete borderland or frontier
  4. the coast is clear informal the obstacles or dangers are gone
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verb
  1. to move or cause to move by momentum or force of gravity
  2. (intr) to proceed without great effortto coast to victory
  3. to sail along (a coast)
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Derived Formscoastal, adjectivecoastally, adverb

Word Origin

C13: from Old French coste coast, slope, from Latin costa side, rib
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 coast

n.

"margin of the land," early 14c.; earlier "rib as a part of the body" (early 12c.), from Old French coste "rib, side, flank; slope, incline;" later "coast, shore" (12c., Modern French côte), from Latin costa "a rib," perhaps related to a root word for "bone" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kosti "bone," also see osseous).

Latin costa developed a secondary sense in Medieval Latin of "the shore," via notion of the "side" of the land, as well as "side of a hill," and this passed into Romanic (e.g. Italian costa "coast, side," Spanish cuesta "slope," costa "coast"), but only in the Germanic languages that borrowed it is it fully specialized in this sense (e.g. Dutch kust, Swedish kust, German Küste, Danish kyst). French also used this word for "hillside, slope," which led to verb meaning "sled downhill," first attested 1775 in American English. Expression the coast is clear (16c.) is an image of landing on a shore unguarded by enemies.

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v.

late 14c., "to skirt, to go around the sides, to go along the border" of something (as a ship does the coastline), from Anglo-French costien, from the French source of coast (n.). The meaning "sled downhill," first attested 1775 in American English, is a separate borrowing. Of motor vehicles, "to move without thrust from the engine," by 1925; figurative use, of persons, "not to exert oneself," by 1934. Related: Coasted; coasting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper