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roller coaster

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.
a car or train of cars for such a railroad.
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


[roh-ler-koh-ster, roh-li-] /ˈroʊ lərˌkoʊ stər, ˈroʊ lɪ-/
verb (used without object)
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.
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.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a roller coaster.
resembling the progress of a ride on a roller coaster in sudden extreme changeableness.
1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for roller coaster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His wife had told him to stay off the roller coaster, but he had sneered.

    The Enormous Room Horace Leonard Gold
  • He placed a foot against it and shot it across the floor, the chair moving on its casters as smoothly as a roller coaster.

    Good References E. J. Rath
  • Memory of a wild ride on a Coney Island roller coaster streaked through Dave's brain.

    Dave Dawson at Dunkirk Robert Sydney Bowen
  • We tumbled head over heels down a rough leathery slope into a hollow, and then the platform lifted like a roller coaster.

    The Image and the Likeness John Scott Campbell
  • After they had rested awhile they went along, threading their way through the crowds until they came to the roller coaster.

    The Girl Scouts at Home Katherine Keene Galt
British Dictionary definitions for roller coaster

roller coaster

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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