[fast-nis, fahst-]


a secure or fortified place; stronghold: a mountain fastness.
the state of being fixed or firm: the fastness of democratic institutions.
the state of being rapid.

Origin of fastness

before 900; Middle English; Old English fæstnes. See fast1, -ness Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fastness

haste, speed, rapidity

Examples from the Web for fastness

Historical Examples of fastness

  • His spirit retired far into its fastness, taking with it all his energies.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Hardened men with a hardened code, they lived in their fastness like Ishmaelites.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • He advised a retreat for the night, and an attack on Walter when he should have left the fastness.

  • What is meant by the expression “fastness of color of two fabrics”?


    William H. Dooley

  • I did not come to you and say, 'Let me beard the cook in her fastness.

British Dictionary definitions for fastness



a stronghold; fortress
the state or quality of being firm or secure
the ability of a dye to remain permanent and not run or fade
archaic swiftness

Word Origin for fastness

Old English fæstnes; see fast 1
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 fastness

"a place not easily forced, a stronghold," late Old English fæstnes, from fast (adj.) in its older sense of "firm, fixed in place" + -ness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper