Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (nautical) hold fast!; desist!; stay!.
1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker, HTML edition, 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.
- (parody of pirate slang) listen!; pay attention!.
- Avast, ye landlubbers!
- 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.