(used as a command to stop or cease):
Avast heaving!
Historical Examples

avast a bit, cried Bill—I must first fill up a hole in my stomach, big enough to hold a hogshead.
Wilson’s Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume 19 Various

avast there, what did you do with the rest of that there keg of powder?
Hunting the Skipper George Manville Fenn

avast pulling,” cried Mudge; “I think I hear the sound of a waterfall.
Twice Lost W.H.G. Kingston

“avast with that nonsense, as they don’t say at sea,” laughed Ned.
The Ocean Wireless Boys And The Naval Code John Henry Goldfrap, AKA Captain Wilbur Lawton

Take warnin’ and avast this cruel piratin’ or you’ll get it.
Blackbeard: Buccaneer Ralph D. Paine

“avast pulling, and let the other boats close up,” he whispered.
Salt Water W. H. G. Kingston

His chief desire with regard to the other people in the play is that they should “belay there, avast!”
Stage-Land Jerome K. Jerome

I said so unto him at after, but all I gat of my noble admiral was “avast there!”
Joyce Morrell’s Harvest Emily Sarah Holt

avast heaving,” said Gascoigne, “till I throw her up and take the wind out of it.
Mr. Midshipman Easy Captain Frederick Marryat

avast, old man of war; you must instantly convoy my son from Portsmouth.
Wild Oats John O’Keeffe

sentence substitute
(nautical) stop! cease!

1680s, a nautical interjection, “hold! stop!” probably worn down from Dutch houd vast “hold fast.”

AVAST. — The order to stop, or pause, in any exercise or operation; as Avast heaving — that is to say, desist, or stop, from drawing in the cable or hawser, by means of the capstan &c. [George Biddlecombe, “The Art of Rigging,” 1848]


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