A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Fast (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 776, 777

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 776, 777

Fast. adj. [ꝼæꞅꞇ, Saxon.]

  1. Firm; immoveable.

    He by his strength setteth fast mountains. Ps. lxv. 6.

    Last, the sire and his three sons,
    With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
    Milt.

                    Be sure to find,
    What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
    Of dangers and adversities, and pains,
    Ere thou of Isreael's sceptre get fast hold.
    Milt. Par. Reg.

  2. Strong; impregnable.

    England, by report of the chronicles, was infested with robbers and outlaws; which, lurking in woods and fast places, used often to break forth to rob and spoil. Spenser on Ireland.

  3. Fixed.

    Lodronius, with the breaking in and force of the horsemen, was driven into a marsh; where, after that he, being sore wounded, and almost fast in the deep mud, had done the uttermost of that his last endeavour, he yielded himself. Knolles.

    A man in a boat, who tugs at a rope that's fast to a ship, looks as if he resolved the ship to help him. Temple.

  4. Deep; sound.

    I have seen her rise from her bed, take paper, fold it, seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep. Shakespeare's Macbeth.

  5. Firm in adherence.

    Quick wits be in desire new-fangled; in purpose, unconstant; light to promise any thing; ready to forget every thing, both benefit and injury; and thereby neither fast to friend, nor fearful to foe. Ascham's Schoolmaster.

  6. [from ffest, Welsh, quick] Speedy; quick; swift.

    This work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. Ezra v. viii.

    Skill comes so slow, and life so fast doth fly,
    We learn so little, and forget so much.
    Davies.

    The prince growth up fast to be a man, and is of a sweet and excellent disposition: it would be a stain upon you if you should mislead, or suffer him to be misled. Bacon to Villiers.

  7. Fast and loose. Uncertain; variable; inconstant; deceitful.

    A rope of fair pearl, which now hiding, now hidden by the hair, did, as it were, play at fast and loose each with other, giving and receiving richness. Sidney.

    If she perceived by his outward chear,
    That any would his love by talk bewray,
    Sometimes she heard him, sometimes stopt her ear,
    And play'd fast and loose the live-long day.
    Fairfax, b.v.

    The folly and wickedness of men, that think to play fast and loose with God Almighty! L'Estrange.

    If they cohered, yet by the next conflict with other atoms they might be separated again; and so on in an eternal vicissitude of fast and loose, without ever consociating into the huge condense bodies of planets. Bentley's Sermons.

Sources: Ascham, Roger (10) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Bentley, Richard (57) · Davies, John (45) · The Bible - Ezra (3) · Fairfax, Edward (30) · Knolles, Richard (44) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Milton, John (449) · The Bible - Psalms (29) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Temple, William (54)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · Saxon (215) · Welsh (Welch) (27)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Fast (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 12, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=14058.


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