General English


  • (written as Coast)
    The Cambridge Optical aperture Synthesis Telescope, a telescope opened in Cambridge, England, in 1996 which uses aperture synthesis to allow four 40cm telescopes to imitate a single much larger telescope


  • noun an area where the land meets the sea

Cars & Driving

  • verb to run without any drive being transmitted to the wheels, either in neutral or with the clutch out


  • verb to ride in or on a vehicle without using the engine or the pedals

Origin & History of “coast”

Latin costa meant ‘rib’ (hence the English medical term intercostal ‘between the ribs’), but also more generally ‘flank, side’. It was in this sense that it passed into Old French as coste, and subsequently into English. The modern meaning ‘seashore’ (which had already developed in Old French) arises from the shore being thought of as the ‘side’ or ‘edge’ of the land (compare seaside). Amongst the senses of the French word little represented in English is ‘hillside, slope’; it was however adopted in north America for a ‘slope down which one slides on a sledge’, and came to be used in the mid 19th century as a verb meaning ‘sledge down such a slope’. That was the source of the modern verbal sense ‘freewheel’.

The coster of costermonger (16th c.) was originally costard, a variety of apple named from its prominent ‘ribs’. And another hidden relative is cutlet (18th c.), borrowed from French côtelette, literally ‘little rib’.