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2017 Word of the Year

avast

[uh-vast, uh-vahst] /əˈvæst, əˈvɑst/
verb (imperative), Nautical.
1.
(used as a command to stop or cease):
Avast heaving!
Origin of avast
1675-1685
1675-85; perhaps < Dutch houd vast hold fast (see hold1, fast1)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for avast
Historical Examples
  • avast there, what did you do with the rest of that there keg of powder?

    Hunting the Skipper George Manville Fenn
  • "avast with that nonsense, as they don't say at sea," laughed Ned.

    The Ocean Wireless Boys And The Naval Code John Henry Goldfrap, AKA Captain Wilbur Lawton
  • avast pulling, and let the other boats close up,” he whispered.

    Salt Water W. H. G. Kingston
  • avast pulling,” cried Mudge; “I think I hear the sound of a waterfall.

    Twice Lost W.H.G. Kingston
  • Take warnin' and avast this cruel piratin' or you'll get it.

    Blackbeard: Buccaneer Ralph D. Paine
  • I said so unto him at after, but all I gat of my noble admiral was “avast there!”

    Joyce Morrell's Harvest Emily Sarah Holt
  • avast, old man of war; you must instantly convoy my son from Portsmouth.

    Wild Oats John O'Keeffe
  • "avast there, you lubber——" commenced Cocky, but Sa'-zada stopped him.

    The Sa'-Zada Tales William Alexander Fraser
  • In vain did the old man-o'-war's-man cry out "belay" and "avast."

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • The machine was just clear of the water when the order came "avast heaving."

    Billy Barcroft, R.N.A.S. Percy F. Westerman
British Dictionary definitions for avast

avast

/əˈvɑːst/
sentence substitute
1.
(nautical) stop! cease!
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from Dutch hou'vast hold fast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for avast

1680s, a nautical interjection, "hold! stop!" probably worn down from Dutch houd vast "hold fast."

AVAST. -- The order to stop, or pause, in any exercise or operation; as Avast heaving -- that is to say, desist, or stop, from drawing in the cable or hawser, by means of the capstan &c. [George Biddlecombe, "The Art of Rigging," 1848]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for avast

8
9
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