coast is clear


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

the coast is clear

It is safe to proceed, typically because no one is present or nearby who may interfere. I don't see the security guard, so go ahead—the coast is clear.
See also: clear, coast

coast is clear

There is no visible danger. I'm going to stay hidden here until the coast is clear. You can come out of your hiding place now. The coast is clear.
See also: clear, coast

coast is clear, the

The authorities aren’t looking; one can proceed without fear of getting caught. Several writers hold that this term comes from the days of piracy and smuggling, when it declared the absence of coast guards. However, one of the earliest references dates from 1530, appearing in J. Palsgrave’s book about the French language: “The kynge intendeth to go to Calays, but we must first clere the costes.” By the late sixteenth century the term was also being used figuratively. Eric Partridge regarded it as a cliché from the eighteenth century on.
See also: coast
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