1 of 2


: very great in size, amount, degree, intensity, or especially in extent or range
vast knowledge
a vast expanse
vastness noun


2 of 2


: a boundless space
the vast of heavenJohn Milton
Choose the Right Synonym for vast

enormous, immense, huge, vast, gigantic, colossal, mammoth mean exceedingly large.

enormous and immense both suggest an exceeding of all ordinary bounds in size or amount or degree, but enormous often adds an implication of abnormality or monstrousness.

an enormous expense
an immense shopping mall

huge commonly suggests an immensity of bulk or amount.

incurred a huge debt

vast usually suggests immensity of extent.

the vast Russian steppes

gigantic stresses the contrast with the size of others of the same kind.

a gigantic sports stadium

colossal applies especially to a human creation of stupendous or incredible dimensions.

a colossal statue of Lincoln

mammoth suggests both hugeness and ponderousness of bulk.

a mammoth boulder

Examples of vast in a Sentence

Adjective She has a vast amount of knowledge on this subject. The policy is supported by the vast majority of citizens. a vast expanse of land
Recent Examples on the Web
But our imaginations tend to stop short, in part because the vast majority of us have never seen actual carnage. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2023 Yes, some people may take advantage of this, but a vast majority of shoppers will not. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 28 Nov. 2023 Other parts of Google’s vast empire claim to serve Palestinians businesses, but people reached by WIRED say the reality is very different. Paresh Dave, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2023 In reality, a vast number of people and groups worked to redefine the nation from many directions and through many, sometimes competing, tactics. Beth Py-Lieberman, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Nov. 2023 The bank agreed to set aside $1.4 million for victims of the discrimination, but the vast share of the penalty is going into a pool that compensates all consumers harmed by violations of federal consumer financial protection laws. Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 The vast majority of shops are now shut or empty, and people are mostly buying and selling goods informally, according to the United Nations. Ameera Harouda Yousef Masoud, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023 The vast majority of journalists killed, 37 in total, were Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to the CPJ. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Addressing the room, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the vast majority of the U.S. trade and investment relationship with China is not affected by national security concerns and that the U.S. is committed to promoting reciprocal trade and investment in those areas. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History



borrowed from Latin vāstus or vastus "devoid of habitation, desolate, dreary," also, "of great size, immense," probably in part continuing Indo-European *h1u̯eh2-sto- (whence Old High German wuosti "empty, deserted," Old English wēste, Old Irish fás), in part conflated with another base *wast- of uncertain origin


noun derivative of vast entry 1, perhaps by analogy with deep entry 1, deep entry 3

First Known Use


1585, in the meaning defined above


1604, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vast was in 1585

Dictionary Entries Near vast

Cite this Entry

“Vast.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: very great in extent, size, amount, degree, or intensity
a vast stretch of desert
vast knowledge
vastly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on vast

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