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


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: 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
The admittedly vast fleets of factories installed in recent years to build green technology are barely up to the scale of the challenge. David Fickling, The Mercury News, 13 June 2024 In this elegiac history, Joyce presents a painstaking account of a way of life to which, until recently, the vast majority of humanity was bound. The New Yorker, 12 June 2024 Under the vast skies of northern Arizona lies Roden Crater, the site of a colossal environmental art piece in the making by artist James Turrell. Tiffany Acosta, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2024 The vast majority of the migrants came from Venezuela, which has seen millions of its citizens flee in recent years to escape a widespread economic crisis and authoritarian rule. S. Dev, CBS News, 11 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for vast 

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 18 Jun. 2024.

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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