Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fæst; akin to Old High German festi firm, Old Norse fastr, Armenian hast
Date: before 12th century
a. firmly fixed <roots fast in the ground> b. tightly shut <the drawers were fast> c. adhering firmly d. not easily freed ; stuck <a ball fast in the mouth of the cannon> e. stable <movable items were made fast to the deck> 2. firmly loyal <became fast friends> 3. a. characterized by quick motion, operation, or effect: (1) moving or able to move rapidly ; swift (2) taking a comparatively short time (3) imparting quickness of motion <a fast bowler> (4) accomplished quickly (5) agile of mind; especially quick to learn <a class for fast students> b. conducive to rapidity of play or action c. (1) of a timepiece or weighing device indicating in advance of what is correct (2) according to or being daylight saving time d. contributing to a shortening of exposure time <fast film> e. acquired with unusually little effort and often by shady or dishonest methods <had a keen eye for a fast buck — R. A. Keith> 4. a. securely attached <a rope fast to the wharf> b. tenacious <a fast hold on her purse> 5. a. archaic sound asleep b. of sleep not easily disturbed 6. not fading or changing color readily 7. a. wild <a pretty fast crowd> b. sexually promiscuous 8. resistant to change (as from destructive action or fading) <fast dyes> — often used in combination <sunfast> <acid-fast bacteria> Synonyms: fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity. fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves <fast horses> and rapid to the movement itself <rapid current>. swift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement <returned the ball with one swift stroke>. fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness <fleet runners>. quick suggests promptness and the taking of little time <a quick wit>. speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment <speedy delivery of mail> and may also suggest unusual velocity. hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness <a hasty inspection>. expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment <the expeditious handling of an order>. II. adverb Date: before 12th century 1. in a firm or fixed manner <stuck fast> 2. in a sound manner ; deeply <fast asleep> 3. a. in a rapid manner ; quickly b. in quick succession 4. in a reckless or dissipated manner 5. ahead of a correct time or schedule 6. archaic close, near III. intransitive verb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fæstan Date: before 12th century 1. to abstain from food 2. to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods IV. noun Date: before 12th century 1. the practice of fasting 2. a time of fasting V. noun Etymology: alteration of Middle English fest, from Old Norse festr rope, mooring cable, from fastr firm Date: 15th century something that fastens (as a mooring line) or holds a fastening
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.