Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for avast
Historical Examples
  • avast a bit, cried Bill—I must first fill up a hole in my stomach, big enough to hold a hogshead.

  • avast there, what did you do with the rest of that there keg of powder?

    Hunting the Skipper George Manville Fenn
  • avast pulling,” cried Mudge; “I think I hear the sound of a waterfall.

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

    Blackbeard: Buccaneer Ralph D. Paine
  • avast pulling, and let the other boats close up,” he whispered.

    Salt Water W. H. G. Kingston
  • His chief desire with regard to the other people in the play is that they should "belay there, avast!"

    Stage-Land Jerome K. Jerome
  • 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 heaving,” said Gascoigne, “till I throw her up and take the wind out of it.

    Mr. Midshipman Easy Captain Frederick Marryat
  • avast, old man of war; you must instantly convoy my son from Portsmouth.

    Wild Oats John O'Keeffe
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for avast

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for avast

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for avast