4th Dimension – This is the term that describes Arrow Dynamics 4th Dimension roller coaster where cars of an individual coaster are made to be able to flip on the x axis in a controlled manner, like on the X roller coaster found at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Acceleration – This is when the cars or trains of a coaster are speeding up. Most often this is talking about how fast a train is able to achieve a given speed on a launch coaster in a given time - the train accelerates from zero to XX mph in X number of seconds).
Air Gate – This is a gate used to keep people from walking onto the roller coaster's loading platform. This is necessary for safety purposes, and are most often driven by compressed air.
Airtime – This is This is used used to describe the sensation people get from negative G-forces. Usually, this is the feeling of floating in midair when your body is lifted from the seat allowing air between you and the seat. This happens most often on a drop or at the top of a hill.
Anti-Rollback Device – This is a mechanism used for ratcheting, used on a lift hill or section of a roller coaster. It keeps coasters from rolling backward down a hill and creates a clicking sound that prevents the cars or trains from rolling backwards. This is the device that causes the familiar clicking sound on many lift hills.
Ascend - To go up on a hill or any other incline.
Backwards - This means riding a roller coaster when seated facing in the opposite direction the coaster is moving. Sometimes parks will on occasion run a roller coaster backwards by situating the train backwards on the track so the rear car leads. On shuttle coasters, the riders will move both backwards and forwards because the roller coaster track does not make a full circuit.
Banked Turn – This is a piece of track that is banked (laterally angled) during a turn. This is done to help reduce the lateral G-forces.
Barrel Roll – This is an inversion term mainly used by Bolliger and Mabillard to describe a corkscrew inversion on their roller coasters. Alos see corkscrew
Batwing - Arrow Dynamics term for a boomerang inversion. It is made of two half vertical loops at a 45 degree angle - half the inversion facing each other.
Bench Seats – This is a flat-seat coaster with no divider between the riders. These were common on older wooden coasters and mine train coasters. It allows riders to easily slide along the seat, but most coasters today have dividers for safety.
Bents – These are vertical wood beams that support the structure of a wooden roller coaster.
Block – This is a part of the track of a roller coaster. Usually they are separated by akes, lifts, and other devices that allow the train to be stopped if need be. Most coasters are only meant to allow for one train at a given time.
Boomerang - This is a kind of inversion with two half loops connected to each other. Boomerang is a term used by Vekoma to describe a shuttle coaster models.
Bowtie - This is used to describe an inversion like a boomerang inversion, but in a bowtie inversion the train enters and leaves heading the same direction.
Brake Fin – This is a straight piece of steel placed on the undercarriage of the roller coaster car. It slides into and through a fin brake placed on the tracks. It might slide through a magnetic brake as well.
Brake Run - A section of track placed before the loading station where brakes are installed to bring the trains to a full stop. Brake runs can also be installed midway through the course.
Brakes - A device used to bring the train of a roller coaster to a stop. They are placed on the brake run, but can and usually are set along the course in order to slow the train down if it has to be stopped. There are several types of brakes such as skid brakes, fin brakes, and magnetic brakes.
Car - A car is a single piece of a coaster train. It has one or more rows where riders are seated. A coaster train usually is made of two or more cars linked together to form the train. Coasters that use only one car just call the vehicles cars rather than trains.
Car Barn – This is a partly enclosed structure that the roller coaster cars or trains are kept in when they aren't being used as well as the maintenance area.
Catapult Launch – This is when coaster train is launched to give it speed rather than using a lift hill and gravity. It's connected to the train and accelerates it by using either a flywheel or weight drop. As of recently, compressed-air (Thrust Air), Linear Synchronous Motors (LSM's) and Linear Induction Motors (LIM's) are other methods.
Chain Lift – This is one of the most basic things found on a coaster. It brings the car or train to the top of a hill, then lets it coast down for momentum that carries it throughout the course. Some coasters might use more than one of these.
Check Brake – This is a brake used for emergencies and to stop the train if needed, like if it's entering some section of the course where another train is. Sometimes there are devices intended for keeping trains from getting too close.
Circuit – This is the full run of the course from start to finish.
Cobra Roll - This is a term that describes a main element on some of Bollinger and Mabillard's roller coasters. It's a double inversion that resembles Arrow's boomerang. Riders are sent into it and are flipped upside down twice. They leave in the opposite direction of entry. It's named after the design of a cobra's hood.
Compressed Air Launch – A launch using the forced of compressed air being uncompressed like a hydraulic mechanism.
Corkscrew - A corkscrew is a twisting inversion, and the first one was designed by Arrow Dynamics. It's also called a barrel roll by Bollinger and Mabillard.
Cutback - Designed by Arrow Dynamics, this element includes a single inversion and a 180-degree turnaround.
Dark Ride – This is a type of enclosed amusement park ride that makes a lot of use of special lighting, animation, sounds and music to create a scene. Usually it's in the dark, but it doesn't have to be. One example is the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland.
Diving Loop - This is a term used by Bolliger and Mabillard for an inversion similar to an acrobatic stunt. It goes through half a vertical loop and a twisting curve that goes into or out of the inversion. On the B&M inverted coasters, it's also called an Immelman after the WWII fighter pilot.
Double Dip – This is a hill that is split into two smaller drops by lessening the angle halfway through.
Double Loop - This term is meant to describe a configuration of two vertical loops consecutively or to talk about a roller coaster that has two vertical inversions and no other inversions.
Double Out and Back - This is what's used to refer to the layout of a roller coaster where the track makes a double circuit by going away and back to the station twice.
Dual Track - These are roller coasters with two different tracks or circuits. Usually, the two tracks share the station as well as a bit of the structure such as the lift hill.
Dueling Coaster – This is a roller coaster with two tracks that intends to make the rider feel the effect of near head-on collisions through the circuit. Some dueling coasters are Twisted Twins at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa and Dueling Dragons at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Elevated Curve – This is when the track either rises or falls during a curve.
Enclosed – This is a type of roller coaster where the whole track is inside a structure. Usually this is done for themed rides.
Fan Turn or Fan Curve - A turn on a wooden coaster designed with a sweeping curve from the entrance to the exit of the turn. Fan curves are usually used to describe a change of direction of less than 90-degrees and turn is used to describe a change of direction of 90-degrees or more.
Figure 8 Layout - A roller coaster track layout that resembles the number eight from above.
First Drop - The first major drop on a roller coaster and generally the first drop following the lift hill.
Fixed Lapbar – This is a type of coaster train restraint for riders that won't adjust. It places itself along the lap of multiple riders, but has been mostly replaced with individual ones for safety reasons.
Flat Spin - This is used to describe an element coaster designers Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M) to describe their banked, high-speed helix turns.
Flat Turn – This is a type of turn that is flat as opposed to banked like normal turn. This allows the rider to feel the sensation that the train might tip over because of lateral forces. One coaster that features this is the GhostRider by CCI.
Floorless –This is a coaster where the cars have invisible floors, making it seem that the rider is flying in midair.
Flywheel Launch – The use of a flywheel to generate launching power.
Flying Turns – This used to be the descriptive term of a bobsled roller coaster. Instead of a track, there is a U-shaped trough that a train can move through freely, allowing for sharper turns. However, this design isn't used much anymore.
Freeform – This is what describes a unique coaster with its own layout. Frequently they use the terrain to determine their course.
G-Force – The acceleration force produced by inertia from a change in direction such as a turn or dip
Galaxi – This is a steel coaster that has a compact and twisted layout. They used to be commonly seen in fairs.
Gigacoaster – Cedar Point and other parks use this as a marketing term to describe a roller coaster that is higher than 300 feet. Millennium Force of Cedar Park, for instance, stands at 310 feet and moves at 92 miles per hour.
Guide Wheels - These are a set of wheels that keep the train steady through turns and from leaving the track during a high-speed turn. They're attached to the car and run along the underside of the track.
Headrest – This is a safety device that keeps the rider's head from suffering whiplash. It's advised that risders keep their heads there to avoid having it hit the headrest during acceleration.
Heartline - This is a term that describes an inversion that's designed to have the center of gravity focused on the rider's center, this way it feels completely zero-G. This is a frequent tactic in coaster design today, and is also called a zero-G roll.
Helix – This is a turn used in a roller coaster that goes in more than a standard 360 degree circle, such as a 540 degree turn where the riders are traveling opposite their entrance direction.
Hydraulic Launch – A launch that makes use of compressed hydraulic gas. Usually this is used when there isn't any force of gravity to help.
Hypercoaster - This is the word used to refer to a steel roller coaster that was designed to offer the most speed and airtime. They make use of height and long drops. There aren't any inversions and there are hops and speed bumps used for air time.
Immelman - This is a term used by Bolliger and Mabillard to describe the civing Loop seen on some roller coasters that are inverted. It was named after a famous German pilot from World War II.
Incline Loop - This is a type of loop that was invented by Bolliger and Mabillard. It's a vertical loop but the angle is much less than 90 degrees. It could easily be called a diagonal loop.
Individual Lapbar – This is a newer type of restraint. It's meant for an individual rider rather than a group like older lapbars were. It locks into position on the rider's lap, keeping them in place through the ride for safety.
Indoor Roller Coaster - An indoor roller coaster operates inside a building, such as an indoor amusement park, mall or other venue.
Inversion - This is used used to describe any portion of a roller coaster track that turns the riders upside down.
Inverted Roller Coaster – This is a type of roller coaster where the cars are hung from the track. The Batman ride at Six Flags Great America was the first one of these. Another term for it is a suspended looping loaster.
Interlocking Loops – These are a set of two loops that are vertical, connected like a chain. The first coaster to use these was The Lochness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was the first roller coaster to feature Interlocking Loops.
Jet Star – This is a full production-model steel roller coaster. It has a twister layout and was designed by Anton Schwarzkopf. Several varying types of this coaster exist, such as Jet Star, Jet Star II, and Jumbo Jet.
Junior Coaster – This is a type of roller coaster that was designed for children. The loops and other elements aren't as pronounced as they would be otherwise.
Lapbar – This is one of the main types of safety restraints. It keeps the rider secure by placing a bar across the rider's lap. They are the most common restrains used along with chest bars. Also, they come in individual and group forms.
Lateral G's, Lateral Forces, Lateral Gravity – These are the forces experienced on a roller coaster that cause the rider's body to move to the side of the car due to inertia. They're often found in flat turns due to the lack of banking.
Lifthill - The section of the coaster that holds the device used to move the train up a hill by pushing or pulling it. Many of these work by using a motor connected to a chain. Sometimes these have to be done multiple times throughout the course.
LIM or Linear Induction Motor – This is a magnetic motor that's used to send a coaster along a section of steel track, or even up it. Synchronous Motors operate by the same principle, but they differ in technology.
Looping Corkscrew or Loop Screw – This is a design element of a roller coaster that has both a vertical loop and a corkscrew.
LSM or Linear Synchronous Motor – Another common method that's used to launch ad sometimes accelerate a coaster along a steel track. It works by attracting and repelling magnets located beneath the cars.
Loading Platform – This is where riders are gathered to board and exit the ride.
Manual Brake – This is a safety measure – a hand brake that requires a human to operate it and slow the train if necessary. It used to be common, but many parks use the computerized brake systems now.
Mine Train – This is one of the oldest themed rides. It features a lot of turns, quick drops and helix turns, meant to imitate a mine train.
Mobius Track – This is a special type of racing roller coaster that has a continuous track as a circuit and passes twice through the loading station. This is a rare model – there are only a few mobius racks still running in the world today such as The Racer, La Feria and The Grand National.
Multielement – This term describes a roller coaster that has multiple types of inversion elements such as loops.
Negative G's - Negative Gs are forces that counteract the feeling of gravity, or add the sensation of floating. They occur on top of hills as inertia causes the body to move to the opposite direction of a turn or drop.
Out and Back - This is a term that describes a set layout on a roller coaster. This is when the train exits the station and goes outward to a turn, where it heads back to the station. Many times you can see an L-shaped variant of this form where there is more than one curve. The most well known out and back coaster is Shiver Me Timbers at Michigan's Adventure. They often have a helix at the end, but the rest of the course is a normal out and back style.
Oval Track – This is a roller coaster shaped like an oval – it's mostly found in junior roller coasters to give children a basic experience without frightening them too much.
Over-The-Shoulder Restraint (OTSR) – Just like a lap bar, this is a safety device meant to hold people in their seats on a coaster. It's used most often on roller coasters with lots of loops, such as the Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Partially Enclosed – This is a type of roller coaster that has some of the track enclosed by a building. It can be used as part of a theme ride, but most often it's just a normal coaster.
Pay-One-Price – This is a type of payment at many amusement parks that have you simply pay a one-time fee to enter and you can ride all rides, etc. without having to pay for each. This is contrasted with pay per ride, which is exactly as it states. Some parks have a pay one price option on certain days, but allow to pay as you go. Disneyland and Knoebels Amusement Park are two examples of parks that do this.
Point of View (POV) – This is an advertising technique that allows people ot create a video of a ride as it would be seen from a rider in either the front of a train or the back.
Positive G's – This is standard gravity that makes a rider feel as though their body is being pulled down. This happens in turns where the angle is very sharp, at the bottoms of hills and during loops. It exceeds one G.
Racer – This is a two track roller coaster that has two trains that leave the station at the same time and race each other through the circuit. Many racing coasters such as Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain have tracks that run parallel to get this effect. Some of them use somewhat different tracks so that each one experiences something different.
Ratchet – This is a steel bar with teeth, usually inserted on a lift hill or other hills. IT keeps the roller coaster train from rolling backwards when going up a hill. It hooks to a bar inserted under the car.
Restraint – This is a type of safety device that's used to keep riders from accidentally being flung from the car during motion. They can be in the form of shoulder bars, lap bars and seat belts. They keep the rider in the same position throughout the ride.
Road Wheel - A wheel attached to the car or train that rides on the top of the roller coaster rail or track. Road wheels are usually made of steel and coated with nylon, hard plastic or rubber.
Rolling Stock – This is another word the business uses for a coaster car or train.
Running Rails – These are the side rails of the course that the wheels of the train are attached to in order to keep on the course.
Seats – These are the parts of the train and car where riders sit during the ride. Not all coasters have seats – some are standing models.
Seatbelt – This is one of the simplest types of safety restraints, and in many older coasters it's the only thing. As of late it's a standard thing to have these along with shoulder and lap bars for riders to give extra protection.
Set-Up – Sometimes the coaster train will stop outside the station, and that is the situation where this term is used.
Shoulder Harness – This is a device that keeps the shoulders of a rider secure by putting a bar over the shoulders, but not going all the way down to the lap.
Shuttle - This describes a type of roller coaster track that goes in a linear path. Instead of a full circuit, the coaster goes to the end of the course and back through it to return to the station. One such coaster is the Viper at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Side Friction – This is a type of roller coaster that has guide rails located above and on the outside of the track. They act to keep the train from leaving the track without having to use any guide wheels. One of the main coasters that uses this technique is Leap the Dips, found in Lakemont Park.
Sidewinder – This is a type of inversion that causes the car to turn 90 degrees when the train is upside down.
Single Loop – This is a very simple roller coaster design that has one vertical loop and maybe some other inversions.
Speed Bump – This is another way to help produce negative Gs by placing a small hill at a high-speed location so the rider will feel the sensation of floating.
Speed Run – This is when the course of a roller coaster places several speed bumps in succession. They can be seen on wooden coasters along the section of the track that leads to the station on out and back coasters.
Spinning Wild Mouse – This is a Wild Mouse coaster that has been built and designed with free-spinning cars. The spins are not controlled by the ride, but by forces such as gravity and weight distribution. Often this is a bobsled type course.
Standing But Not Operating (SBNO) – Some roller coasters have been closed for operation, but haven't yet been dismantled. This means they're called this term, but it doesn't refer to coasters that are simply closed because of the park's downtime or closed season.
Stand-Up Roller Coaster – This is a different type of coaster design that allows riders to be standing throughout the ride, such as the Superman ride at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Station – This is the main structure that holds the boarding platforms for the ride, as well as its controls and operating panel. Basically it's where all the things required to maintain function and safety of the ride are stored.
Station Brake - A device used to slow or stop the train as it approaches and enters the station.
Steel Roller Coaster – This type of coaster is built with steel rails. Rather than the structure deciding whether the coaster is wood or steel, it's the side rails. On steel rails the coaster can be driven using electric induction motors.
Steel Structure – This describes the type of support structure on a roller coaster that's built from steel. Usually it's to describe wooden structures that have steel rails. They're built more commonly than wooden structures because they have less need for maintenance and therefore saving expenses.
Straight – This is a section of a roller coaster track that has no inversions, curves or inclines. Usually it can be found on roller coasters that are launched. Some examples are Rock n Roller Coaster found at Disney MGM and the Superman ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Suspended – This is a newer and specialized type of roller coaster train. To give riders a feeling of floating, the track is located above the cars so riders can see below them. Several superhero theme rides have used this design to add to the realism of the theme. Some examples are the Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Ninja at Six Flags Magic Mountain. These are able to swing freely to the sides.
Suspended Looping Coaster (SLC) – Vekoma's term for an inverted roller coaster.
Swoop Term – This is a type of turn that adds a dip in the middle of the turn. Usually, it starts at the top of a hill, drops into the turn and rises back out of it to crest another hill.
Terrain Roller Coaster - This is a roller coaster layout that incorporates the terrain into its layout as well as the surroundings. Generally, the track is placed at a low height so that the terrain adds to the rider's experience on the coaster.
Theme Park - This is a type of amusement park that’s generally centered around a theme, such as Disneyworld or Six Flags. The theme carries throughout the different rides and attractions. Islands of Adventure is another example. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyworld is a main theme ride in that park.
Themed Roller Coaster – This is a type of roller coaster that's more than just a ride, it tells a story or has a theme. To express this it has sound and lightning effects. Many of the best themed roller coasters are enclosed to make it easier to do this. Some of the themed coasters are in the open, though. Dueling Dragons is one of the most well-known ones.
Thrust Air – A form of roller coaster that uses refrigerated and heated air's expansion to deliver thrust to the cars.
Tire Drive Lift Hill – This is a type of lift hill that makes use of tires to pinch the steel fin located beneath the car to pull it up a hill. It's also possible to place tires that touch the underside of the car.
Traditional Amusement Park - This is a type of amusement park that operates in the same way that parks did when they showed up in the first part of the 20th century. Some of these parks are Knoebels Amusement Resort, Lake Compounce, and Playland Park, located in the town of Rye, New York.
Train – This is the term used to refer to a group of at least one car held together to form a roller coaster train.
Transfer Track – This is a piece of the track used to shift one coaster train from the main part of the track to another part of the tract. Most of the time it's connected to the car barn or an unused part of the track where cars are usually kept when not in service.
Trim Brake – This is a type of brake that slows down a coaster train in the middle of the track if it turns out that the train is going faster than is safe. They also can reduce the amount of negative Gs on the rider, and block brakes are used in the same fashion.
Triple Out and Back – This is a more advanced version of the Out and Back and Double Out and Back, where the coaster makes three different trips. This is the highest number to date of Out and Back coasters, because anything future would become too complicated to design.
Turnaround - This is a term that describes a turn on a coaster that reverses the train's direction. Usually, these are used on rides that are designed with an out and back layout to make it easy to reverse direction.
Twister – This is a type of roller coaster design that has a lot of directional changes with twists and some inversions. It's exciting because it's so unpredictable. Cyclone and Wildcat are two of the most prominent examples.
Two Lift Hills – This type of roller coaster has two lift hills at different points of the course.
Unloading Platform - This part of the station is where riders get off the train, but usually it's the same location as the loading platform where the next group of riders can get on.
Upstops – This part of the coaster is a flat material that's attached to the train and threaded beneath the track to keep the train from leaving the tracks on a hill or a sharp turn. It stops negative Gs.
Upstop Wheels – This is a group of wheels that are attached to the underside of a train or an upstop to make the action of the upstop smoother.
Vertical Loop – This is a roller coaster design element that is made of a fully vertical loop that spans 360 degrees, and riders are upside down at the top of the loop.
Weight Drop Launch – This is a type of launching mechanism seen on some versions of the Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop roller coasters. It works by using a heavy weight, attached to cables and pulleys that draw the train out from the station and to its maximum speed. Other methods that make use of momentum are the Catapult Launch, the Compressed Air Launch and the Flywheel Launch.
Wheels – These are the parts of the roller coaster train that run along the tracks. Usually, they're made of steel and have nylon and rubber to dampen noise and heat from the steel. Three main types of wheels exist – the guide wheel, the upstop wheel and the road wheel.
Wild Mouse – This a type of roller coaster that has sharp non-banked turns and very quick, steep drops. These tend to run with individual cars rather than trains. There are often 4 cars on the track at the same time.
Wingover - This is a term that describes a half-corkscrew shaped inversion element found on Bolliger and Mabillard inverted roller coasters.
Wood Structure – This is a term that describes the rails of a roller coaster constructed of wood. As with steel structures, the terms define the material of the rails, not the underlying supports. Most older coasters have wooden rails.
Wooden Roller Coaster – This is a type of roller coaster that is made of laminated wood layers and a steel rail attached to it as a track. Some wooden coasters are the GhostRider and Colossus, found at Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain.