I. fast 1 S2 W3 /fɑːst $ fæst/ BrE AmE adverb
1 . MOVING QUICKLY moving quickly:
Slow down – you’re driving too fast.
a fast-moving river
Johnny ran off as fast as his legs could carry him (=running as quickly as he could) .
2 . IN A SHORT TIME happening in a short time:
Kids grow up fast these days.
The survivors needed help fast.
How fast can you get the job done?
fast becoming/disappearing/approaching etc
Access to the Internet is fast becoming a necessity.
It all happened so fast I didn’t even notice I was bleeding.
3 . fast asleep sleeping very deeply:
Nick was lying on the sofa, fast asleep.
4 . be stuck/held fast to become or be firmly fixed and unable to move:
The boat was stuck fast in the mud.
She tried to pull her hand free, but it was held fast.
5 . be getting/be going nowhere fast informal to not succeed in making progress or achieving something:
I kept asking her the same question, but I was getting nowhere fast.
6 . not so fast spoken used to tell someone not to be too eager to do or believe something:
Not so fast. We’ve got to prove it first, haven’t we?
7 . make something fast to tie something such as a boat or tent firmly to something else
8 . fast by something literary very close to something:
fast by the river
⇨ play fast and loose with somebody at ↑ play 1 (30), ⇨ stand fast at ↑ stand 1 (25), ⇨ thick and fast at ↑ thick 2 (2)
• • •
▪ quickly at a high speed or without taking much time:
The stream was flowing quite quickly.
They quickly became friends.
▪ fast at a high speed – used especially when talking about how something moves:
You're driving too fast!
He ran home as fast as he could.
▪ quick spoken quickly – used in exclamations or in comparatives:
Quick! There’s a mouse!
▪ swiftly written quickly:
The government acted swiftly.
She was surprised that he agreed so swiftly.
▪ rapidly quickly – used especially about changes, increases, improvements etc:
The population is growing rapidly.
a rapidly changing world
▪ speedily quickly and therefore efficiently:
All problems were speedily dealt with.
▪ briskly quickly and energetically:
He walked briskly back along the path.
▪ at high/great speed at a very fast speed – used especially in technical descriptions:
The molecules are travelling at great speed.
▪ at a rapid rate especially written quickly – used about changes, increases, improvements etc:
Internet shopping is growing at a rapid rate.
▪ as quick as a flash/in a flash extremely quickly:
As quick as a flash, I was back in my bed and under the covers.
▪ like lightning moving extremely quickly:
Like lightning, the cat darted under the bushes.
▪ flat out especially British English at the fastest speed possible:
The car was going flat out.
He was running flat out.
II. fast 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE adjective
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: fæst 'firm' ]
1 . MOVING QUICKLY moving or able to move quickly:
a fast car
He’s one of the fastest runners in the world.
2 . IN A SHORT TIME doing something or happening in a short time:
The subway is the fastest way to get downtown.
The company must give a faster response to clients’ requests.
The rain forests are being chopped down at an alarmingly fast rate.
I’m a fast learner.
3 . CLOCK [not before noun] a clock that is fast shows a later time than the real time:
That can’t be the time – my watch must be fast.
five minutes/an hour etc fast
I always keep my watch 15 minutes fast.
4 . fast track a way of achieving something more quickly than is normally done
on the fast track
a young actress on the fast track to fame and success
5 . fast road a road on which vehicles can travel very quickly
6 . fast film/lens a film or ↑ lens (2) that can be used when there is little light, or when photographing something that is moving very quickly
7 . COLOUR a colour that is fast will not change when clothes are washed ⇨ ↑ colourfast
8 . SPORTS a fast surface is one on which a ball moves very quickly
9 . fast and furious done very quickly with a lot of effort and energy, or happening very quickly with a lot of sudden changes:
Arsenal’s opening attack was fast and furious.
10 . somebody is a fast worker informal used to say that someone can get what they want very quickly, especially in starting a sexual relationship with another person
11 . fast talker someone who talks quickly and easily but is often not honest or sincere
12 . WOMAN old-fashioned becoming involved quickly in sexual relationships with men:
fast cars and fast women
13 . fast friends literary two people who are very friendly for a long time
⇨ ↑ fast food , ↑ fast-forward , ↑ fast lane , ⇨ make a fast buck at ↑ buck 1 (1), ⇨ pull a fast one at ↑ pull 1 (10)
• • •
▪ fast moving or able to move quickly:
The cheetah is the fastest animal in the world.
a fast car
▪ quick moving fast or doing something in a short time:
He was much quicker than I was over the first 100 metres.
Do I have time for a quick shower?
▪ high-speed [only before noun] designed to travel or operate very quickly:
a high-speed train
high-speed Internet access
▪ rapid especially written happening in a short period of time – used about changes, increases, improvements etc:
a rapid increase in the population
the rapid expansion of the firm’s business in the Middle East
a rapid decline in profits
▪ swift written moving quickly or happening after only a short time:
The horses ran along the track at a swift trot.
He received a swift response to his letter.
▪ brisk quick and energetic:
a brisk walk in the countryside
His manner was very brisk.
▪ speedy [only before noun] happening after only a short time:
Everyone wishes you a speedy recovery.
a speedy resolution to the problem
▪ hurried done more quickly that usual, because you do not have much time:
She ate a hurried breakfast in the cafe before catching her train.
We made a hurried departure.
▪ hasty deciding or doing something very quickly, especially when this has bad results:
It was a hasty decision, which he later regretted.
Let’s not be too hasty.
III. fast 3 BrE AmE verb [intransitive]
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: fæstan ]
to eat little or no food for a period of time, especially for religious reasons:
Muslims fast during Ramadan.
• • •
■ to eat less food or stop eating
▪ be on a diet to be eating less or different food than normal in order to become thinner:
No cake thanks – I’m on a diet.
▪ fast to not eat for a period of time, often for religious reasons:
Muslim people fast during the month of Ramadan.
IV. fast 4 BrE AmE noun [countable]
a period during which someone does not eat, especially for religious reasons:
Gandhi drank some orange juice to break (=end) his three-week fast.