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[fast-nis, fahst-] /ˈfæst nɪs, ˈfɑst-/
a secure or fortified place; stronghold:
a mountain fastness.
the state of being fixed or firm:
the fastness of democratic institutions.
the state of being rapid.
Origin of fastness
before 900; Middle English; Old English fæstnes. See fast1, -ness Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fastness
Historical Examples
  • Secure in their fastness the men of Sapri sent replies, varying from the evasive to the impertinent.

    The Story of the Guides G. J. Younghusband
  • It was their fastness, their fortress, and often their home.

    The Huguenots in France Samuel Smiles.
  • Now I know that the purple island of Dhrum is her fastness, and that because she loved us she brought us safely here, together.

    The Heather-Moon C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • His spirit retired far into its fastness, taking with it all his energies.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • Denis stayed to lunch at "The fastness" that day, and in the afternoon there was tennis.

    Too Old for Dolls Anthony Mario Ludovici
  • Hardened men with a hardened code, they lived in their fastness like Ishmaelites.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • What is meant by the expression “fastness of color of two fabrics”?

    Textiles William H. Dooley
  • He advised a retreat for the night, and an attack on Walter when he should have left the fastness.

    Epic and Romance W. P. Ker
  • Should they go on their way, leaving the unfriendly chief in the security of his fastness?

    Sea-Dogs All! Tom Bevan
  • I did not come to you and say, 'Let me beard the cook in her fastness.

British Dictionary definitions for fastness


a stronghold; fortress
the state or quality of being firm or secure
the ability of a dye to remain permanent and not run or fade
(archaic) swiftness
Word Origin
Old English fæstnes; see fast1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fastness

"a place not easily forced, a stronghold," late Old English fæstnes, from fast (adj.) in its older sense of "firm, fixed in place" + -ness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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