roll·​er-coast·​er | \ ˈrō-lər-ˌkō-stər How to pronounce roller-coaster (audio) , ˈrō-lə-ˌkō- \

Definition of roller-coaster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by numerous ups and downs an entertainer's roller-coaster career

roller coaster

roll·​er coast·​er | \ ˈrō-lər-ˌkō-stər How to pronounce roller coaster (audio) , ˈrō-lē-ˌkō- \

Definition of roller coaster (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an elevated railway (as in an amusement park) constructed with sharp curves and steep inclines on which cars roll
2 : something resembling a roller coaster especially : behavior, events, or experiences characterized by sudden and extreme changes an emotional roller coaster

Examples of roller-coaster in a Sentence

Noun We went for a ride on the roller coaster. The divorce was an emotional roller coaster for both of them.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Thank you to our many loyal readers for sticking with the Morning Rundown for your daily news fix during this tragic, chaotic, roller coaster ride of a year. NBC News, "Christmas comes early for Trump allies with more pardons," 24 Dec. 2020 The first two weeks were a roller coaster of various symptoms. Maiya Carmichael,, "A Black Girl’s Guide To Coping With COVID-19," 22 Dec. 2020 From there, we’re taken on an emotional roller coaster ride that’s frightening, funny, infuriating and ultimately satisfying. Jeanne Jakle,, "Critic’s picks for the 10 best TV series of 2020 and how to stream them now," 16 Dec. 2020 Running a brick-and-mortar store during the pandemic has been a roller coaster ride for countless independent retailers across America, including Jill Lindsey. Nick Leiber,, "A Brooklyn-Born Lifestyle Brand Expands in Real Life," 1 Dec. 2020 That propels her on a roller coaster ride of mistakes and brave but foolhardy risks to avoid arrest, remember what happened and not get killed in the process. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "How Kaley Cuoco moved on from sitcom past to serve up racy sex scene in 'Flight Attendant'," 24 Nov. 2020 But the last three years have been more of a roller coaster ride. Chris Isidore, CNN, "The Dow just hit 30,000. It was a long road to get there," 24 Nov. 2020 Finishing that way would be fitting for what has been a roller coaster of a recruiting cycle for Notre Dame. Carter Karels, The Indianapolis Star, "How Notre Dame defeating Clemson is impacting Irish recruiting in the 2021 class and beyond," 13 Nov. 2020 Alicia Stella, owner of, joins Orlando Sentinel theme park reporter Dewayne Bevil to discuss the under-construction roller coaster at Islands of Adventure theme park. Orlando Sentinel Podcasts,, "PODCAST: Excitement grows as Universal’s VelociCoaster ride vehicle, raptor paddock come into view (Ep. 77)," 10 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'roller-coaster.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of roller-coaster


1940, in the meaning defined above


1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for roller-coaster

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The first known use of roller-coaster was in 1883

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Cite this Entry

“Roller-coaster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for roller-coaster

roller coaster

How to pronounce roller coaster (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of roller coaster

: a ride at an amusement park which is like a small, open train with tracks that are high off the ground and that have sharp curves and steep hills
: a situation or experience that involves sudden and extreme changes

roller coaster


Kids Definition of roller coaster

: an amusement park ride that is an elevated railway with sharp curves and steep slopes over which cars travel

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