If you’re confused by theme park, thrill ride and roller coaster terminology, our handy glossary of terms will help you out!

For inversion definitions, such as loops and corkscrews, please see our Inversions page.

Our Coaster Types section has information on different ride types.

#, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


4th Dimension
A type of roller coaster where the seats are capable of forward and backward twists via an additional two rails attached to a ratchet gear on the train. A 4D coaster is capable of flipping its seats during any element.
180° Roll
An element on Vekoma Flying Dutchman coasters where the riders are turned from being in a face-up position to one which faces downward, or vice-versa.


Air-Powered Launch
Where the train is launched using compressed air. Further information can be found on our Air Launched Coaster page.
Air Gate
A controlled gate on the loading platform that prevents riders from walking onto the roller coaster.
The coming-out-of-your-seat sensation caused by a change in G force, usually experienced when the train travels over hills or down drops.
Amusement Park
A park with many attractions for people of all ages but generally has no themed areas.
Anti-Rollback Device
Safety device that stops a coaster train from rolling back down the lift hill. The clicking sound heard on most lift hills is the Anti-Rollback Device working. Often referred to as a ‘chain dog’.


Bag Lady
CoasterForce term to describe somebody who looks after the bags whilst other people go on a ride.
Banked Curve or Turn
A type of track where it’s tilted while turning to reduce the lateral G Forces on riders.
Barrel Roll
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
An entry level theme park and roller coaster enthusiast. A “goon” who hasn’t visited a wide variety of theme parks or been on many ride types.
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
Big Boy Seat
A seat on a ride specifically designed to accommodate a larger than average sized person.
A section of track where only one train can enter (used on coasters that have more than one train).
Block Brakes
Used to stop a train from entering the next block if another train occupies that block.
Blousing Out
CoasterForce term to describe somebody who refuses to ride because they are scared or ill.
Bobsled Coaster
A roller coaster where the train coasts down a trench, similar to that of a winter bobsleigh. Further information can be found on our Coaster Types page.
Boomerang Coaster
A Vekoma roller coaster where the train travels forward, briefly stops and then goes backward along the same track. Further information can be found on our Coaster Types page.
Booster Wheels (aka Friction Wheels or Drive Tires)
Motorized wheels between the rails that propel the train along a section of track. Usually found in the station and brake runs.
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
Brake Fins
Thin electromagnetic strips that slow the train down without making contact with the train.
Brake Run
Brakes that slow or completely stop the train. Brake Runs are found at the end of a roller coaster. If the roller coaster has several blocks, it will have a Mid-Course Break Run (MCBR).
When a ride stops due to mechanical or technical issues.
A coaster operator who rides on the train and uses a lever to manually operate the brakes as it travels the circuit, and to stop it upon returning to the station.
Bunny Hops
A series of small, short hills, that usually appear towards the end of the circuit, designed to induce brief bursts of airtime.
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
Butterfly Coaster
A self-operated ride where a single car with up to two riders is pulled to the top of a small U-shaped track and then released to travel back and forth until coming to a stop again. Further information can be found on our Coaster Types page.


Camel Back
A series of two or more medium to large hills, each slightly smaller than the preceding one.
The number of riders a ride can accommodate (usually measured in riders-per-hour).
An individual section of a coaster train defined by seats on their own set of wheels. A roller coaster train is made up of several cars joined together. Many coasters don’t use trains, just individual cars.
Launch roller coaster where the train zooms out from the station without the aid of a lift hill or booster wheels.
Where a queue line is laid out in tightly packed rows next to one another.
Centrifugal Force
Another term for lateral G-forces.
CoasterForce Live – An official meeting of CoasterForce members at a theme park.
Chain Dogs
A metal catch device beneath the train cars which engages into the moving chain lift in order to pull the train uphill.
Chain Lift
A lift hill where the train reaches the top using a ratchet and chain system.
The term used for a complete lap of a roller coaster – from station back to station.
A roller coaster that has the exact same layout as another roller coaster.
Clothoid Loop
A teardrop shaped vertical loop.
Coaster Count
The number of different roller coasters an enthusiast has ridden.
Cobra Roll
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
A credit (or “cred”) is roller coaster on an enthusiast’s coaster count.
Cred Anxiety
When you visit a park with loads of new-to-you coasters and worry that you won’t be able to ride them all before the park shuts. Commonly associated with one-day visits to Six Flags Magic Mountain or Cedar Point.
Credit Whore
CoasterForce term describing an enthusiast who will ride any roller coaster. A Cred Whore will go to extreme lengths to obtain the cred.
A section of roller coaster track that crosses above or under another section.


Dark Ride
A ride inside a building usually containing different themed sections.
Dive Coaster (aka Dive Machine)
A roller coaster type created by ride manufacturer B&M where the train drops down a vertical (or near vertical) section of track. Further information can be found on our Diving Coaster page.
Dive Drop (aka Wing Over Drop)
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
Dive Loop
A type of track inversion. Further information can be found on our Inversions page.
Double Down
A drop that is immediately followed by a second drop.
Double Figure Eight
A type of roller coaster track layout that resembles two Figure Eights that are side-by-side.
Double Out and Back
An Out and Back coaster whose track follows a similar route for a second time.
Double Up
A hill that starts to crest but flattens out and ascends again.
Drop Tower
A thrill ride where riders are hoisted to the top of a tower and then released. The drop is either free fall or controlled.
Duel Station
A ride station that can accommodate two trains or cars with separate track loading for each.
Dueling Coaster
Two roller coasters that are built in close proximity to one another. The two layouts interact so riders on each coaster experience near misses or racing elements.


Abbreviation for ‘Emergency Stop’. When a ride is stopped by ride ops or safety mechanisms. The ride may start again shortly after, or remain closed for a longer period of time, depending on the severity of the incident that caused the E-stop. Usually prompts an evacuation.
A feature in a roller coaster layout, such as an inversion, turn, tunnel or themed section.
Enclosed Ride
A ride inside a building. Another term for a Dark Ride.
Exclusive Ride Time. A period of time where members of a group has exclusive use of a ride, usually outside of normal park operating hours. Also known as ERS – Exclusive Ride Session.


CoasterForce term describing unnecessary time wasting.
Family Coaster
A roller coaster suitable for pre-teens and those not used to intense rides.
Roller coaster/theme park enthusiast’s term to describe somebody who is obsessed with a certain ride or a park.
A special ticket that allows a rider to bypass a queue line. Also see “Q Bot”.
Fat Boat
A log flume boat full of large people in order to create an extra large splash at the bottom of a drop.
Figure Eight
A section of track that resembles the number 8 when viewed from above. Two 180 degree turns in opposite directions connected with a crossover.
Final Brake Run
The last brake run on a roller coaster that slows down or stops a train before it re-enters the station or unloading platform.
First Drop
Typically the first element of a traditional roller coaster. The big drop immediately after the lift hill or launch.
Flat Ride
A thrill ride that is not a roller coaster or water ride. Occasionally referred to as a ‘flat’.
CoasterForce term for that airtime that is a bit too strong to be floater but not quite spine-separating ejector. It can take many guises – from a sudden aggressive pop of floater to a gradual build-up of ejector. One of those things where “you know when you feel it”, and boy does it feel good!
Floorless Coaster
A roller coaster where the train sits above the track but does not have a floor. Coaster manufacturer B&M pioneered this type of ride.
Flying Coaster
A roller coaster where the train is suspended beneath the track and train repositions itself so the riders are in a “Superman” flying position.
Where a rider feels like their feet are going to hit something.


G Force
Forces experienced by a rider as the ride train or car moves. The variants of G Force experienced during a ride depends on the element. Further information about G Forces can be read here.
Giga Coaster
A coaster over 300ft (91.44m) in height, but not over 400ft (121.92m) tall.
CoasterForce term to describe somebody who has an over-enthusiastic and special love affair with roller coasters and theme parks. They eat, sleep, breathe theme parks and roller coasters. Typically geeky but “goon” can be used to describe any level of theme park interest.
Theme park and ride branded apparel worn by a goon.
Guide Wheels
Wheels attached to the bottom of the train that run under or to the side of the track, fixing the train to the track and enabling the train to glide around turns.


The part of a roller coaster as it narrowly enters a tunnel or goes through/under another structure, creating the illusion that the rider might hit their head.
Home Park
The park closest to, or most visited by, a coaster enthusiast. May or may not invoke fanboy-ism.
A slang term for an inversion typically used by non-enthusiasts; “That ride there has five hoops!” The H can be dropped to give it an even less informed tone; “I loved the ‘oop on that coaster!”
Horse Collar
A type of Vekoma and Arrow restraint that pulls down over the head and locks in by the shoulders.
A roller coaster made using both wood and steel materials. A wooden hybrid coaster has a steel support structure and wooden track, while a steel hybrid coaster has a wooden support structure with steel track.
Hydraulic Launch
A type of launch that uses compressed nitrogen gas and hydraulic fluid to launch a coaster train at very high acceleration rates from a standstill.
Hyper Coaster
A term coined by coaster manufacturer B&M for a roller coaster over 200ft (60.96m), but not over 300ft (91.44m) tall. Also see Mega Coaster.


IBox Track
A type of steel roller coaster track created by coaster manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction that allows old wooden coasters to be modified to include thrilling elements. Also known as “Iron Horse” track.
In Storage
A roller coaster that has been disassembled, and is currently being stored.
Where two or more inversions are placed within one another, such as Interlocking Corkscrews.
An element in a roller coaster where the rider is turned upside down.
Inverted Coaster
A roller coaster where the train is attached to the wheel carriage beneath the track.


Junior Coaster
A roller coaster designed specifically for pre-teens. A variation of a Family Coaster.


Kiddie Coaster
A roller coaster designed specifically for very small children.


Lap Bar
A type of safety restraint. A bar that locks down over the rider’s lap.
Where a roller coaster train accelerates quickly, usually from a standstill.
Launch Cable
A reinforced steel cable used on hydraulic launch coasters to propel the train from standstill.
Lift Hill
Inclined section of track at the start of the ride where the train is pulled to the highest point of the coaster by a chain or cable.
Linear Induction Motor. Electromagnets are used to launch a coaster train or boost it along the track.
Log Flume
A ride where the riders sit in a boat and float along a trench filled with water.
Linear Synchronous Motor. Strategically positioned magnets are used to launch a coaster train. LSM launch magnets turn on and off in perfect synchronization to achieve maximum acceleration. The “turning on and off” is what separates the LSM from the LIM.


Mega Coaster
A term coined by coaster manufacturer Intamin for a roller coaster over 200ft (60.96m), but not over 300ft (91.44m) tall. Also see Hyper Coaster.
Mid-Course Brake Run (MCBR)
A Brake Run partway through a roller coaster circuit to either slow or stop the train.
Reaching a significant number in your coaster count total. Typically 50 at first, then 100, 200, 300 etc.
Millennium Flyer Trains
Roller coaster trains designed by wooden coaster manufacturer Great Coasters International. Millennium Flyer trains are characterised by their cushioned seats, individual rider lap bars and a gate like frontage that often displays the ride logo.
Mine Train Coaster
A type of coaster that resembles a mine train.


On Ride Photo (ORP)
An overpriced photo of riders on the ride, usually taken by a strategically-placed camera to ensure maximum grimaces, but a fixed camera. Can usually be bought at a booth near the ride’s exit.
Out and Back
Roller coaster layout where the track heads out away from the station, makes a turnaround, and returns near to the outbound track.
Over The Shoulder Restraint. A restraint that comes down over the head, sits flush to the riders shoulders and is usually doubly fastened by a seatbelt.


Parking Lot Coaster
A roller coaster built above flat ground, with no themeing. i.e. as if it was built on a car park.
Plug and Play Coaster
A wooden coaster designed by Intamin. The coaster track and supports are pre-cut, pre-drilled and sent out “flat pack” to the park. It is then assembled by engineers who simply piece it together according to instructions.
Point of View. What the rider sees. Often used when describing front row view coaster videos. Watch roller coaster POVs on the CoasterForce YouTube channel.
Powered Coaster
A roller coaster that uses a powered motor to propel itself around the track.


Q Bot
A service device that allows a rider to reserve a time slot to ride, usually at an additional cost.
Queue Jumper
A scumbag who thinks they do not have to wait in line and pushes past everybody, or jumps fences, to advance through the queue.


Racing Coaster
Where two roller coaster tracks are parallel to one another. Both trains start at the same time and race to the end of the ride.
Rapids Ride
A ride in which the riders sit in circular shaped boats and float through a choppy, water filled trench.
A safety device to keep the rider secure in their seat.
Ride Operator
The person who operates the ride. Also known as a “Ride Op”.
Riding Politely
CoasterForce term to describe a rider who sits with their hands clasped above their lap and has a nonchalant expression on their face.
Rocket Coaster
Another name for a launch coaster.
Happens when a launched coaster fails to overcome the first hill, and rolls back down the launch track. Safety mechanisms are put in place to slow the train down, and prevent a collision with any trains behind. Roll-backs may be scary, but are perfectly safe.
Rolling Stock
Another name to describe a roller coaster train.


Standing But Not Operating. A roller coaster that is not in use but remains standing.
Used to secure a restraint or fastens across the riders lap. Often used as a secondary failsafe to a ride’s primary restraints (such as lapbars or OTSR’s).
Shuttle Coaster
The roller coaster train travels in one direction, then travel backwards over the same track to return to the station.
Spinning Coaster
A type of coaster where the car freely spins as it moves along the track. Also known as a “spinner”.
When something does not go the riders way. For example, when a ride is closed, a rider cannot get on a ride, an accident occurs or a group is split up when loading.
When the coaster train doesn’t make it over the top of a hill due to external factors, such as wind or combined weight of the train and passengers.
Stand-Up Coaster
A type of coaster where the rider is in a standing up position.
The area where the rider boards and departs a ride.
Strata Coaster
A roller coaster over 400ft (121.92m) tall.
Suspended Coaster
A type of coaster where the train is attached beneath the track, and the cars are mounted on a hinge as to allow them to freely swing left and right.


Terrain Coaster
A roller coaster that is built in close proximity to and/or around the natural surroundings.
Theme Park
A park with themed areas such as Haunted Woods, African Safaris, Roman Gods, Wild West and so on.
Timberliner Trains
Roller coaster trains designed by wooden coaster manufacturer Gravity Group and Gravitykraft. Timberliner trains are characterised by their cushioned seats, individual rider lap bars and frontage shaped to represent the ride theme.
Topper Track
A track style created by ride manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction. Topper track is a steel replacement that covers the top levels of wooden coaster track.
The fixed layout and structural path that the train/car travels on.
Two or more roller coaster cars joined together.
Transfer Track
A movable section of the track that allows cars/trains to be moved on/off the track circuit.
Traveling Coaster
A roller coaster that can be easily taken apart, transported and rebuilt at multiple locations.
Trim Brake (aka Trims)
A brake positioned somewhere on the track to slow the train down, but does not function as a block brake. These are often added on coasters after they are built to control unexpected or overbearing forces and speed.
A part of the track where the roller coaster changes directions between 180-360 degrees.


Upstop Wheels
The wheels on the wheel assembly that are below the track.


When a roller coaster train fails to make it over an incline, it “valleys” back and forth until it comes to a complete natural stop at the lowest part of the track.
Virtual Coaster
A roller coaster where riders wear a VR (Virtual Reality) headset.


Water Coaster
A steel tracked coaster that has many water-based drops and sections similar to those of a log flume.
Wild Mouse
A single car roller coaster with a large flat section of upper track consisting of multiple 180° switchbacks and lower sections of track with a few drops and/or bunny hops.
Wooden Coaster
A roller coaster with track made from wood. Also known as a “woodie” or “woody”.


Zero Car
An axle that can be found at the front or rear of a train to give it support; a car without seats.