Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To abstain from food.
  • intransitive verb To eat very little or abstain from certain foods, especially as a religious discipline.
  • noun The act or practice of abstaining from or eating very little food.
  • noun A period of such abstention or self-denial.
  • adjective Acting, moving, or capable of acting or moving quickly; swift.
  • adjective Accomplished in relatively little time.
  • adjective Acquired quickly with little effort and sometimes unscrupulously.
  • adjective Quick to understand or learn; mentally agile.
  • adjective Indicating a time somewhat ahead of the actual time.
  • adjective Allowing rapid movement or action.
  • adjective Designed for or compatible with a short exposure time.
  • adjective Disposed to dissipation; wild.
  • adjective Flouting conventional moral standards; sexually promiscuous.
  • adjective Resistant, as to destruction or fading.
  • adjective Firmly fixed or fastened.
  • adjective Fixed firmly in place; secure.
  • adjective Firm in loyalty: synonym: faithful.
  • adjective Lasting; permanent.
  • adjective Deep; sound.
  • adverb In a secure manner; tightly.
  • adverb To a sound degree; deeply.
  • adverb In a rapid manner; quickly.
  • adverb In quick succession.
  • adverb Ahead of the correct or expected time.
  • adverb In a dissipated, immoderate way.
  • adverb Archaic Close by; near.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make fast; fix; fasten.
  • Specifically To join in marriage; marry.
  • Swift; quick in motion; rapid; that moves, advances, or acts with celerity or speed: as, a fast horse; a fast cruiser; a fast printing-press.
  • Done or accomplished with celerity; speedily performed; occupying comparatively little time: as, a fast passage or journey; a fast race; fast work.
  • Being in advance of a standard; too far ahead: used of timepieces and reckonings of time: as, the clock or watch is fast, or ten minutes fast; your time is fast.
  • Furnishing or concerned with rapid transportation: as, a fast train; a fast-freight line; a fast route; a fast station.
  • Eager in the pursuit of pleasure or frivolity; devoted to pleasure and gayety; dissipated: as, a fast liver; a fast man; a fast life.
  • Swiftly; rapidly; quickly; with quick motion or in rapid succession: as, to run fast; to move fast through the water, as a ship; the work goes on fast; it rains fast; the blows fell thick and fast.
  • To hasten.
  • Firmly fixed in place; immovable.
  • Strong against attack; fortified.
  • Fixed in such a way as to prevent detachment, separation, removal, or escape; tight; secure; close; not loose nor easily detachable: as, take a fast hold; make fast the door; make fast a rope.
  • Firm in adherence; steadfast; faithful.
  • Tenacious; not fugitive; durable; lasting; permanent in tint: as, fast colors; fast to milling or to washing (said of colors, or of materials which will not change color under those operations).
  • Close, as sleep; deep; sound.
  • In use; not to be had.
  • The game of prison-bars or prisoner's-base.
  • Nautical, to belay: as, to make fast a rope.
  • noun That which fastens or holds.
  • noun Immovable shore-ice.
  • noun An underlayer; an understratum.
  • Favorable to high speed: said of the condition of a race-track or road, and also, in cricket, of the wicket or playing-ground when it is hard and dry, so that the ball travels fast.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English fasten, from Old English fæstan; see past- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English, from Old English fæst, firm, fixed; see past- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fast, from Old English fæst ("fast, fixed, firm, secure; constant, steadfast; stiff, heavy, dense; obstinate, bound, costive; enclosed, closed, watertight; strong, fortified"), from Proto-Germanic *fastaz, *fastijaz, *fastuz (“fast, firm, secure”), from Proto-Indo-European *pasto- (“fixed, firm, fortified, solid”). Cognate with Scots fest, fast ("fast"), Saterland Frisian fest ("fast"), West Frisian fêst ("fast"), Dutch vast ("fast"), German fest ("fast"), Danish fast ("fast"), Swedish fast ("fast"), Norwegian fast ("fast"), Icelandic fastur ("fast"), Armenian հաստ (hast, "thick"), Sanskrit पस्त्य (pastyá).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English fæstan (verb), from Proto-Germanic *fastijanan. Cognate with Dutch vasten, German fasten, Old Norse fasta, Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌽. The noun is probably from Old Norse fasta.

Examples

  • That's why students of the U.S. S.hool of Music get ahead twice as fast -- _three times as fast_ as those who study old-fashioned, plodding methods.

    Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930

  • _ (held) fast in his antagonist's clutch_, 637; fȳrbendum fæst, _fast in the forged hinges_, 723; handa fæst, 1291, etc.; hygebendum fæst (beorn him langað), _fast (shut) in the bonds of his bosom, the man longs for_ (i.e. in secret), 1879.

    Beowulf

  • _ (held) fast in his antagonist's clutch_, 637; fýrbendum fäst, _fast in the forged hinges_, 723; handa fäst, 1291, etc.; hygebendum fäst (beorn him langað), _fast (shut) in the bonds of his bosom, the man longs for_ (i.e. in secret), 1879.

    Beowulf

  • BRIDEGROOM is with them, the SONS OF THE NUPTIALS cannot fast: the days will come when the BRIDEGROOM will be taken away from them, and then will they fast_, "Matt ix.

    The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love

  • His lead: “Attention White House speechwriters: The term fast track is no longer in vogue.”

    No Uncertain Terms

  • His lead: “Attention White House speechwriters: The term fast track is no longer in vogue.”

    No Uncertain Terms

  • His lead: “Attention White House speechwriters: The term fast track is no longer in vogue.”

    No Uncertain Terms

  • His lead: “Attention White House speechwriters: The term fast track is no longer in vogue.”

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Win, and win fast, is the mandate NFL head coaches carry into their jobs.

    New era for NFL head coaches: Super Bowl winners must sit

  • The phrase fast track has a long history in horse racing, to mean “dry, conducive to speed.”

    No Uncertain Terms

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Contronymic in the sense: moving vs. fixed in place or asleep.

    January 29, 2007

  • Goaded by his desire for instant gratification, a German academic strikes an ill-judged bargain.

    February 6, 2008

  • Citation (with meaning “solid�?) at uncleft.

    November 14, 2008

  • We all want things to happen faster. If you can do it - tell them.

    '15 words that will make you money'

    July 23, 2009