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[uh-vast, uh-vahst] /əˈvæst, əˈvɑst/
verb (imperative), Nautical.
(used as a command to stop or cease):
Avast heaving!
Origin of avast
1675-85; perhaps < Dutch houd vast hold fast (see hold1, fast1) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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


sentence substitute
(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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