roll·​er-coast·​er | \ˈrō-lər-ˌkō-stər, 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, 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


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

Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t the whole point of a roller coaster or water slide the experience of moving fast and flying around? Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Ready or not, the world’s first VR water slide is here," 17 July 2018 The roller coasters at Dollywood were built in the shape of Dolly Parton's world-famous bust line. Stephanie Dolgoff, Woman's Day, "3 Lies About Dolly Parton That Dolly Parton Thinks Are Hilarious," 26 Mar. 2014 The short list includes heights, driving over bridges, dogs, pain, nuclear war, death, alien abduction, roller coasters, and people. Kate Fries, Good Housekeeping, "My Fear of People Has Kept Me Apart," 28 June 2015 Tracking data indicate that the Lion Air jet pitched up and down like a roller coaster during the 12-minute flight before the pilots apparently lost control and nose-dived into the Java Sea. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "U.S. pilots flying 737 MAX weren’t told about new automatic systems change linked to Lion Air crash," 13 Nov. 2018 Other simple challenges include a roller coaster, a haunted house or even a scary movie. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, "Using Fear to Break Out of a Funk," 24 Sep. 2018 Medicine Laugh: Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to hasten the passage of kidney stones. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here are your 2018 Ig Nobel Prize winners," 13 Sep. 2018 BatesWatch: Establishing a roller coaster of drama which will follow him until the series end, Bates is hired, charms Anna, is tripped by O’Brien, gets fired, and then gets rehired. Tom Fitzgerald And Lorenzo Marquez, Town & Country, "The 10 Best Downton Abbey Episodes," 12 Sep. 2018 Dads and children will have dinner, music, crafts, activities, and a ride-on roller coaster. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Youth & Family Services Has Summer Activities For All Ages," 26 June 2018

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

The first known use of roller-coaster was in 1883

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on roller-coaster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with roller-coaster

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