[uh-vast, uh-vahst]

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

Historical Examples of avast

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for avast


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