Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • interjection Used as a command to stop or desist.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nautical, stop! hold! cease! stay!

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • interjection (Naut.) Cease; stop; stay.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • interjection nautical hold fast!; desist!; stay!.
  • interjection listen!; pay attention!.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From Middle Dutch hou vast, hold fast : hou, houd, imperative of houden, to hold + vast, fast; see past- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Dutch hou vast ("hold fast").

Examples

Comments

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  • 5 examples here, but only one uses the word avast. Avast, a bug!

    February 1, 2010

  • It's a verb, I've always heard. Why would one say it's defective?

    September 28, 2009

  • What part of speech be avast? Karl 'Peg-leg' Hagen be concludin' 'tis a defective verb.

    September 28, 2009

  • "a nautical command to stop or cease" --Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary

    May 21, 2009