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 Some of the drums rattle like loose bolts on a roller coaster. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 11 Jan. 2022 The apartment sector has been on a roller coaster since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Cleveland Business Journal, cleveland, 21 Dec. 2021 In late October — though reportedly only friends at the time — they were also spotted holding hands on a roller coaster at Knott’s Scary Farm. Jennifer Zhan, Vulture, 18 Nov. 2021 The Keeping Up with the Kardashians alum and the comedian, 27, held hands on a roller coaster at Knott's Scary Farm in Buena Park as previously seen in exclusive photos obtained by PEOPLE. Nicholas Rice,, 5 Nov. 2021 Real personal income has been on a roller coaster the past two years driven by the pandemic and enhanced government payments to individuals (Table 1, line 34). Chuck Jones, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Speculation over a return to Vienna for a seventh round of talks has since followed the path of a roller coaster, with sudden ascents of optimism followed by chutes of despair. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Oct. 2021 The moments that follow the exiting of a roller coaster are centered on regaining one’s balance and preparing for the next adventure. Michael Alpiner, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 Once in Abu Dhabi, travelers can kayak around the Louvre Abu Dhabi or take in the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, or get their hearts racing with a zip line that shoots through the middle of a roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 17 Sep. 2021

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of roller-coaster was in 1883

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Dictionary Entries Near roller-coaster

roller chain


roller coaster

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Cite this Entry

“Roller-coaster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for roller-coaster

roller coaster


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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