avast

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Dutch hou vast (hold tight).

Pronunciation[edit]

Interjection[edit]

avast

  1. (nautical) hold fast!; desist!; stay!.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 17, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 93:
      “I don’t allow it; I won’t have my premises spoiled. Go for the locksmith, there’s one about a mile from here. But avast!” putting her hand in her side-pocket, “here’s a key that’ll fit, I guess; let’s see.”
    • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker[1], 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.
  2. (slang, in imitation of pirates) listen!; pay attention!
    Avast, ye landlubbers!

Usage notes[edit]

  • “Avast hauling!” (meaning, “stop hauling”) is (or was, in 1950) still commonly used in U.S. Navy deck operations.
  • The slang use in imitation of pirate talk is based on a misconstruction of the meaning. If uttered by a historical sailor, the meaning of the sentence “Avast, ye Matey” would have been, “Desist, you novice seamen”.

Synonyms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Estonian[edit]

Noun[edit]

avast

  1. elative singular of ava

Tocharian B[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Sanskrit अवस्था (avasthā).

Noun[edit]

avast ?

  1. condition, state

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Adams, Douglas Q. (2013) , “avast(h)”, in A Dictionary of Tocharian B: Revised and Greatly Enlarged (Leiden Studies in Indo-European; 10), Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, →ISBN, page 32