fast

1 of 5

adjective

1
a
: firmly fixed
roots fast in the ground
b
: tightly shut
the drawers were fast
c
: adhering firmly
The boards were fast a few hours after being glued together.
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
a fast horse
(2)
: taking a comparatively short time
a fast race
(3)
: imparting quickness of motion
a fast bowler
(4)
: accomplished quickly
fast work
(5)
: agile of mind
especially : quick to learn
a class for fast students
b
: conducive to rapidity of play or action
a fast track
c(1)
of a timepiece or weighing device : indicating in advance of what is correct
Your clock is two minutes fast.
(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 buckR. 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
fell into a fast sleep
6
: not fading or changing color readily
fast colors
7
a
: actively seeking excitement and pleasure : 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

fast

2 of 5

adverb

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

fast

3 of 5

verb

fasted; fasting; fasts

intransitive verb

1
: to abstain from food
2
: to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods

fast

4 of 5

noun (1)

1
: the practice of fasting
2
: a time of fasting

fast

5 of 5

noun (2)

: something that fastens (such as a mooring line) or holds a fastening
Choose the Right Synonym for fast

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

Examples of fast in a Sentence

Adjective She's a very fast runner. We're off to a fast start. We're now experiencing a faster rate of inflation. We took the faster route. Adverb The boss expects this to be done this afternoon, so you'd better work fast. He ran as fast as he could. This is fast becoming a national problem. You need to act fast to take advantage of this offer. I don't know what caused the accident. It all happened so fast. She's a woman who can think fast in a crisis. He's going to have to talk fast to get himself out of this mess. The window was stuck fast. She held fast to her belief in justice. We must stand fast and not surrender! Verb She always fasts on Yom Kippur. Patients must fast for six hours before having the procedure. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
And the drive system is also operated via electronics to deliver personalized, fast, and smooth shifting. Nathan Borchelt, Travel + Leisure, 16 Feb. 2024 She’s got that quality down whether the flow is fast or slow-mo, up in the clouds or tapped into her NYC roots. Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork, 16 Feb. 2024 My 12-year-old grandson eats nothing except fast food and refuses everything else. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 15 Feb. 2024 As a result, the yacht has a lower fighting weight and is faster on the waves. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 North Texas is home to the fastest growing metro areas in the country. Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 Feb. 2024 The fastest growing segment of evangelicals in the US are Latino Americans. John Blake, CNN, 3 Feb. 2024 Images are streamed onto the displays eight times faster than a human eye can blink, according ot Apple. Johnny Dodd, Peoplemag, 2 Feb. 2024 Fine-tuning has the advantage of being often relatively inexpensive and fast. François Candelon, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024
Adverb
Christina Caspers-Roemer, managing director of German VFX studio Trixter, said film and TV production will continue turning to human creators for content, even as AI tools like Sora proved more efficient and faster for work flows. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 Even China, whose economy is growing faster than the United States’, is under heavy pressure. Stan Choe, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 Making the process go faster and easier could also, at least in theory, make homes more affordable. Forbes Daily, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Act fast to scoop up our favorite finds while sale prices last. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Everything was quiet except my heart beating loud and fast inside my chest. Celeste Moure, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Feb. 2024 While a hyperloop train sounds like a great way to travel very fast, there are some financial and safety concerns to be considered. Kurt Knutsson, Cyberguy Report, Fox News, 15 Feb. 2024 But act fast, this pre-holiday weekend deal isn't going to stick around for long. Olivia Young, Travel + Leisure, 15 Feb. 2024 Between 1999 and 2020, prices for admission to sporting events grew more than twice as fast as overall consumer prices, according to the BLS. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, 4 Feb. 2024
Verb
The public attention on his fasting habits seemed to have caught Sunak off guard. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 To know exactly how varying factors impact you, Dr. Comite recommends using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to learn your fasting glucose and unique response to activities, food, stress, and more. Danielle Sinay, Glamour, 22 Jan. 2024 After the iftar, hundreds of seers marched to Mr. Ali’s home to break the Hindu Ekadashi fast with seviyan, a traditional sweet prepared by Muslims on festive occasions. Shweta Desai, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Jan. 2024 This feeding frenzy is followed by an important period of fasting after mothers stop feeding their pups. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Jan. 2024 Attia takes 400 to 500 milligrams of magnesium oxide daily, when not fasting. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 14 Jan. 2024 The mountain has held religious significance for mor ethan 1,500 years, and it’s said that Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick, spent 40 days fasting on its summit in the fifth century. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 7 Jan. 2024 This test does not require fasting so your provider may ask you to take it at any point in the day. Maggie O'Neill, Health, 22 Dec. 2023 Cycle-time to Takt-time: Shifting the organizational rhythm from slow to fast. Arindam Bhattacharya, Fortune, 19 Dec. 2023
Noun
And with 2024 fast approaching, the issue doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Shawna Mizelle, CBS News, 28 Nov. 2023 The goal of the 21-day financial fast is to stop spending mindlessly. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 Sensing the need for an olive branch, Mr. Gyan Das, then head priest of the city’s historic Hanuman Garhi temple, invited 1,000 Muslims to the temple premises during Ramadan to break their daily fast. Shweta Desai, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Jan. 2024 The fast is longer among the northern elephant seals, at about 56 days, compared to 37 days for their southern counterparts. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Jan. 2024 Our findings also showed that kids with a desire to overcome digital addiction did better with a digital fast than those who were less willing or who denied their addiction. David Rosenberg, Fortune Well, 24 Oct. 2023 Be sure to eat foods that fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady during the fast. Sherry Christiansen Updated, Verywell Health, 21 Aug. 2023 But after a digital fast – meaning the addicted teens unplugged for two weeks – those brain abnormalities reversed, and the damage was undone. David Rosenberg, Fortune Well, 24 Oct. 2023 Some see it as the path of least resistance to move forward and get the House back to work, with a deadline fast approaching to avoid a government shutdown. Stefan Becket, CBS News, 18 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fast.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English, from Old English fæst; akin to Old High German festi firm, Old Norse fastr, Armenian hast

Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English fæstan

Noun (2)

alteration of Middle English fest, from Old Norse festr rope, mooring cable, from fastr firm

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fast was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fast

Cite this Entry

“Fast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fast. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

fast

1 of 4 adjective
1
a
: firmly fixed or bound
b
: tightly shut
c
: sticking firmly
2
: firmly loyal
became fast friends
3
a
: moving or able to move rapidly
b
: taking a short time
c
: giving quickness of motion (as to a thrown ball)
d
: favorable to speed
the faster route
4
: indicating ahead of the correct time
my clock is fast
5
: tricky and unfair
pulled a fast one
6
: not likely to fade
fast colors

fast

2 of 4 adverb
1
: in a fixed manner
stuck fast
2
: in a complete manner : soundly, deeply
fast asleep
3
: with great speed
a building fast going to ruin

fast

3 of 4 verb
1
: to go without eating
2
: to eat in small amounts or only certain foods

fast

4 of 4 noun
1
: the act of fasting
2
: a time of fasting
Etymology

Adjective

Old English fæst "firmly fixed"

Verb

Old English fæstan "to go without eating"

Medical Definition

fast

1 of 3 adjective
1
: firmly fixed
2
a
: having a rapid effect
a fast medicine
b
: allowing for the rapid passage of a gas or liquid
3
: resistant to change (as from destructive action)
used chiefly of organisms and in combination with the agent resisted
acid-fast bacteria

fast

2 of 3 intransitive verb
1
: to abstain from food
2
: to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods

transitive verb

: to deny food to
the patient is fasted and given a mild hypnoticLancet

fast

3 of 3 noun
1
: the practice of fasting
2
: a time of fasting

More from Merriam-Webster on fast

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