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See also: Coast



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English coste (rib; side of the body, flank; side of a building; face of a solid figure; coast, shore; bay, gulf; sea; concavity, hollow; boundary, limit; land; country; district, province, region; locality, place; division of the heavens; compass direction; direction; location with reference to direction, side) [and other forms],[1] from Old French coste (rib; side of an object; coast) (modern French côte (rib; coast; hill, slope)), from Latin costa (rib; side, wall),[2] from Proto-Indo-European *kost-.


coast (plural coasts)

  1. The edge of the land where it meets an ocean, sea, gulf, bay, or large lake. [from 14th c.]
    The rocky coast of Maine has few beaches.
  2. (obsolete) The side or edge of something. [15th–18th c.]
    • 1730, Isaac Newton, Opticks, 4th ed., London: [] William Innys [], page 331:
      And the Coaſt towards which the lines KL and VX are drawn, may be call’d the Coaſt of unuſual Refraction.
  3. (obsolete) A region of land; a district or country. [14th–17th c.]
  4. (obsolete) A region of the air or heavens. [14th–17th c.]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English costeien (to travel along a border or coast; to go alongside (something), skirt; to accompany, follow; to travel across, traverse; to be adjacent to, to border;) [and other forms],[3] from Anglo-Norman [Term?], Old French costoier (to be at the side of) [] (modern French côtoyer (to pass alongside; (figuratively) to rub shoulders)), from Latin costicāre, from Latin costa (rib; side, wall); see further at etymology 1.[4]


coast (third-person singular simple present coasts, present participle coasting, simple past and past participle coasted)

  1. (intransitive) To glide along without adding energy; to allow a vehicle to continue moving forward after disengaging the engine or ceasing to apply motive power.
    When I ran out of gas, fortunately I managed to coast into a nearby gas station.
    • 2020 September 23, “Network News: AWC employs coasting to minimise disruption”, in Rail, page 26:
      Avanti West Coast has introduced the use of coasting with its Pendolino fleet, in an effort to keep disruption during overhead line equipment failures to a minimum. [...] The Class 390s coasted for three miles without power between Harrow & Wealdstone and Wembley Central, running under damaged OLE.
  2. (intransitive, nautical) To sail along a coast.
    • 1727, John Arbuthnot, Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights and Measures. Explain'd and exemplify'd in several dissertations:
      The Ancients coasted only in their Navigations.
  3. (intransitive) To make a minimal effort; to continue to do something in a routine way, without initiative or effort.
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, "Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United,"
      Yet the truth is that City would probably have been coasting by that point if the referee, Michael Oliver, had not turned down three separate penalties, at least two of which could be accurately described as certainties.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To draw near to; to approach; to keep near, or by the side of.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To sail by or near; to follow the coastline of.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To conduct along a coast or river bank.
    • 1589, Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, [], London: [] George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, deputies to Christopher Barker, [], OCLC 753964576:
      The Indians [] coasted me a long the river.
  7. (US, dialect) To slide downhill; to slide on a sled upon snow or ice.


  1. ^ cō̆ste, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ coast, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “coast, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ cō̆steien, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ coast, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021; “coast, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]