Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Land next to the sea; the seashore.
  • n. The Pacific coast of the United States.
  • n. A hill or other slope down which one may coast, as on a sled.
  • n. The act of sliding or coasting; slide.
  • n. Obsolete The frontier or border of a country.
  • intransitive v. To slide down an incline through the effect of gravity.
  • intransitive v. To move effortlessly and smoothly. See Synonyms at slide.
  • intransitive v. To move without further use of propelling power.
  • intransitive v. To act or move aimlessly or with little effort: coasted for a few weeks before applying for a job.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To sail near or along a coast.
  • transitive v. Nautical To sail or move along the coast or border of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To glide along without adding energy.
  • v. To sail along a coast
  • v. Applied to human behavior, to make a minimal effort, to continue to do something in a routine way. This implies lack of initiative and effort.
  • v. To draw near to; to approach; to keep near, or by the side of.
  • v. To sail by or near; to follow the coastline of.
  • v. To conduct along a coast or river bank.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The side of a thing.
  • n. The exterior line, limit, or border of a country; frontier border.
  • n. The seashore, or land near it.
  • intransitive v. To draw or keep near; to approach.
  • intransitive v. To sail by or near the shore.
  • intransitive v. To sail from port to port in the same country.
  • intransitive v. To slide down hill; to slide on a sled, upon snow or ice.
  • transitive v. To draw near to; to approach; to keep near, or by the side of.
  • transitive v. To sail by or near; to follow the coast line of.
  • transitive v. To conduct along a coast or river bank.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A side; the side.
  • n. The exterior line, limit, or border of a country; boundary; bound.
  • n. The side, edge, or margin of the land next to the sea; the sea-shore.
  • n. The boundary-line formed by the sea; the coast-line.
  • n. [From the verb.] A slide on a sled down a snowy or icy incline: as, to go out for a coast.
  • To sail near a coast; sail along or near the shore, or in sight of land; follow the coast-line; rarely, to travel along, either on or near the coast.
  • To sail from port to port on the same coast.
  • Hence Figuratively, to feel one's way cautiously; grope along.
  • To advance; proceed; go.
  • To slide on a sled down a hill or an incline covered with snow or ice.
  • To descend a hill on a bicycle, removing the feet from the pedals.
  • To draw supplies to lumberers' shanties.
  • To sail along or near to, as a coast, or along the shore of: as, to coast the shores of the Mediterranean; to coast an island.
  • To carry or conduct along a coast or river-bank.
  • To draw near to; approach; keep close to; pursue.
  • To accost.
  • To glide along swiftly through the air with motionless wings, as a bird.
  • To loaf about from station to station.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the shore of a sea or ocean
  • n. the act of moving smoothly along a surface while remaining in contact with it
  • v. move effortlessly; by force of gravity
  • n. a slope down which sleds may coast
  • n. the area within view

Etymologies

Middle English coste, from Old French, from Latin costa, side; see kost- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English and Old French coste, from Latin costa ("edge"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • The modern meanings of the noun and verb are not related in the obvious way. Latin costa meant "side" (including in particular "rib"), and originally in English as in French its descendant was applied to the sides of various things. In English the noun came to be practically restricted to the side of the sea, the sea-coast.

    One French meaning "hill-side" was adopted locally in North America for a snowy or icy slope that could be slid down on a sled, and the act of doing so. Though the verb 'coast' had previously meant various things related to the ordinary noun, such as "abut, border" or "travel round the shore", the verb now surviving derives from the act of sliding unpowered down a hill.

    August 26, 2010