verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)


    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.

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 for coast Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for coasting

skate, sail, drift, cruise, slide, float, taxi, freewheel

Examples from the Web for coasting

Contemporary Examples of coasting

Historical Examples of coasting

  • The policy of excluding the coasting trade from the measure he also condemned.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • It was very late, and they had over-passed the allotted time for coasting.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • It is even to be met with in the tiny cabin of a coasting vessel.

    The Slave Of The Lamp

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • In coasting down a hill, it is difficult to stop at the bottom.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • From hence we rowed down the stream, coasting the province of Parino.

    The Discovery of Guiana

    Sir Walter Raleigh

British Dictionary definitions for coasting



  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
British the seaside
  1. a slope down which a sledge may slide
  2. the act or an instance of sliding down a slope
obsolete borderland or frontier
the coast is clear informal the obstacles or dangers are gone


to move or cause to move by momentum or force of gravity
(intr) to proceed without great effortto coast to victory
to sail along (a coast)
Derived Formscoastal, adjectivecoastally, adverb

Word Origin for coast

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 coasting



"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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper