avast

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Dutch hou vast (hold fast).

Pronunciation[edit]

Interjection[edit]

avast

  1. (nautical) hold fast!; desist!; stay!.
    • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker[1], edition HTML, The Gutenberg Project, published 2009:
      "Avast there!" cried the captain, and as though to punctuate his remark he swung the heavy stick he usually carried full upon the back of Billy's head.
  2. (parody of pirate slang) listen!; pay attention!.
    Avast, ye landlubbers!

Usage notes[edit]

  • The form "avast, ye!" (as in "Avast, Hoisting!" or "Avast, this noise" or "Avast ye landlubbers!!") is often seen, but this is nonstandard.
  • "Avast hauling!" is (or was, in 1950) still commonly used in U.S. Navy deck operations.