Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Land next to the sea; the seashore.
  • noun The water near this land.
  • noun The Pacific coast of the United States.
  • noun A hill or other slope down which one may coast, as on a sled.
  • noun The act of sliding or coasting; slide.
  • noun Obsolete The frontier or border of a country.
  • intransitive verb To slide down an incline through the effect of gravity.
  • intransitive verb To move without use of propelling power. synonym: slide.
  • intransitive verb To act or move aimlessly or with little effort.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To sail near or along a coast.
  • intransitive verb To sail or move along the coast or border of.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A side; the side.
  • noun The exterior line, limit, or border of a country; boundary; bound.
  • noun The side, edge, or margin of the land next to the sea; the sea-shore.
  • noun The boundary-line formed by the sea; the coast-line.
  • noun [From the verb.] A slide on a sled down a snowy or icy incline: as, to go out for a coast.
  • To glide along swiftly through the air with motionless wings, as a bird.
  • To loaf about from station to station.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete The side of a thing.
  • noun obsolete The exterior line, limit, or border of a country; frontier border.
  • noun The seashore, or land near it.
  • noun the danger is over; no enemy in sight.
  • noun [Eng.], [U. S.] The force employed in life-saving stations along the seacoast.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a South African mammal (Bathyergus suillus), about the size of a rabbit, remarkable for its extensive burrows; -- called also sand mole.
  • noun [Eng.] a customhouse officer who superintends the landing or shipping of goods for the coast trade.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To draw or keep near; to approach.
  • intransitive verb To sail by or near the shore.
  • intransitive verb To sail from port to port in the same country.
  • intransitive verb Local, U. S. To slide down hill; to slide on a sled, upon snow or ice.
  • transitive verb obsolete To draw near to; to approach; to keep near, or by the side of.
  • transitive verb To sail by or near; to follow the coast line of.
  • transitive verb obsolete To conduct along a coast or river bank.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To glide along without adding energy.
  • verb intransitive, nautical To sail along a coast
  • verb 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.
  • verb obsolete To draw near to; to approach; to keep near, or by the side of.
  • verb obsolete To sail by or near; to follow the coastline of.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English coste, from Old French, from Latin costa, side; see kost- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English and Old French coste, from Latin costa ("edge").

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