[ 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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for avast

British Dictionary definitions for avast


/ (əˈvɑːst) /

sentence substitute

nautical stop! cease!

Word Origin for avast

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

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