View synonyms for coast


[ kohst ]


  1. the land next to the sea; seashore:

    the rocky coast of Maine.

    Synonyms: littoral, seaside, strand

  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.

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.

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.


/ kəʊst /


  1. littoral
    1. the line or zone where the land meets the sea or some other large expanse of water
    2. ( in combination )


  2. the seaside
    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


  1. to move or cause to move by momentum or force of gravity
  2. intr to proceed without great effort

    to coast to victory

  3. to sail along (a coast)

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Derived Forms

  • ˈcoastally, adverb
  • ˈcoastal, adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of coast1

First recorded in 1325–75; (noun) Middle English cost(e), < Anglo-French, Middle French, from Latin costa “rib, side, wall”; (verb) Middle English cost(e)yen, costen, from Anglo-French costeier, Old French costoier, derivative of the noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of coast1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  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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Synonym Study

See shore 1.

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Example Sentences

Endangered humpback dolphins have been spotted in Abu Dhabi and other varieties off the coast of Lagos.

From Ozy

Michael had sold the place and moved to the coast a few years earlier.

From Fortune

Ice near the heart of the continent today creeps coastward at less than 10 meters per year, while ice close to the coast picks up the pace, traveling up to a few kilometers per year.

Most of the funding goes to the coasts, as opposed to the center of the country.

From Ozy

Back east, where he grew up, the highways weren't this bad, but that's what you pay to live on the best coast, as his grom friends always say.

Groups like the Crips and MS-13 have spread from coast to coast, and even abroad.

This approach would greatly limit his appeal beyond the Northeast and the west coast.

There are still large tracts of the island, particularly on the north coast, that are undeveloped.

So too does Inherent Vice, which is something like a love letter written in pot smoke to the Gold Coast.

White King Soap sponsored the show on the West Coast, and Beech-Nut Gum in the East.

Two Battalions racing due North along the coast and foothills with levelled bayonets.

Every day they are gaining more strength, as is seen by the presence of so many of them on this coast.

New France has an exceedingly varied sea-coast, indented by bays and rivers, broken and irregular.

A traveler coming, wet and cold, into a country ale-house on the coast of Kent, found the fire completely blockaded.

Their territory extended 400 miles on the Atlantic coast, and "from the Atlantic westward to the South sea."


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More About Coast

What does coast mean?

As a noun, coast most commonly refers to the land next to the sea or ocean, or the region near it. As a verb, coast often means to move along smoothly or without much effort, but it is used differently in different contexts.

Coast has many specific definitions, but they are all related to one of these two main meanings.

Example: During our bike ride, we coasted down the mountain road, where you can see almost the entire coast of the island.

Where does coast come from?

The first records of the word coast in English comes from the 1300s. The noun form is a derivative of the Middle English word cost(e), which came from the Latin word costa, meaning “side” or “wall.” The verb form can be traced back to the same Latin word and once meant “to travel along the side or border (of a place).”

The coast is where the ocean or sea meets the land. The outline that’s formed at the border of the land is called the coastline. Coast is usually used for very large bodies of water—you typically wouldn’t use coast to refer to the banks of a small lake. The use of coast as a noun is often extended to the land around the coastline (as in a house on the coast, with a view of the beach). It is sometimes then further extended to the entire region around the coast (as in the East Coast and West Coast of the United States).

As a verb, to coast often means to travel forward using only momentum, as opposed to an external form of propulsion. For example, when you coast in a car, you keep moving without pushing down on the accelerator pedal (that is, you don’t use the motor to propel the car). When you coast on a bike, you keep moving without pedaling. In both of these cases, coasting is typically done when moving downhill or on a flat surface. To coast in a small boat like a kayak, you first need to row, unless the current is strong enough to carry you along.

This meaning of coast inspired its figurative sense—”to proceed without effort.” For example, someone who’s coasting at work has stopped working hard and is instead getting by without doing much, perhaps by relying on their past efforts or by taking advantage of the work of others. (This a lot like taking one’s foot off the gas pedal in a car or just drifting downhill on a bike without pedaling.)

Somewhat similarly, if a person or team coasts to victory in a game or competition, it means they were able to win easily, without needing to put forth maximum effort.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms of coast?

  • coastal (adjective)

What are some synonyms for coast?

What are some words that share a root or word element with coast

What are some words that often get used in discussing coast?

How is coast used in real life?

As a noun, coast can refer to the shoreline, or the land around it, or the entire region the borders it. As a verb, coast is used literally when traveling in a vehicle using only forward momentum, or figuratively when proceeding without much effort.



Try using coast!

Which of the following words is not a synonym for the verb coast?

A. accelerate
B. glide
C. drift
D. sail

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.