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feast

[feest] /fist/
noun
1.
any rich or abundant meal:
The steak dinner was a feast.
2.
a sumptuous entertainment or meal for many guests:
a wedding feast.
3.
something highly agreeable:
The Rembrandt exhibition was a feast for the eyes.
4.
a periodical celebration or time of celebration, usually of a religious nature, commemorating an event, person, etc.:
Every year, in September, the townspeople have a feast in honor of their patron saint.
verb (used without object)
5.
to have or partake of a feast; eat sumptuously.
6.
to dwell with gratification or delight, as on a picture or view.
verb (used with object)
7.
to provide or entertain with a feast.
Idioms
8.
feast one's eyes, to gaze with great joy, admiration, or relish:
to feast one's eyes on the Grand Canyon.
Origin
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English feste < Old French < Latin fēsta, neuter plural (taken as feminine singular noun) of fēstus festal, festive, equivalent to fēs- (akin to fair2) + -tus adj. suffix
Related forms
feaster, noun
feastless, adjective
outfeast, verb (used with object)
overfeast, verb
prefeast, noun
unfeasted, adjective
Synonyms
2. Feast, banquet imply large social events, with an abundance of food. A feast is a meal with a plenteous supply of food and drink for a large company: to provide a feast for all company employees. A banquet is an elaborate feast for a formal and ceremonious occasion: the main speaker at a banquet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for feasts
  • They kept animals, cooked and baked, were excellent at crafts and held great feasts.
British Dictionary definitions for feasts

feast

/fiːst/
noun
1.
a large and sumptuous meal, usually given as an entertainment for several people
2.
a periodic religious celebration
3.
something extremely pleasing or sumptuous: a feast for the eyes
4.
movable feast, a festival or other event of variable date
verb
5.
(intransitive)
  1. to eat a feast
  2. (usually foll by on) to enjoy the eating (of), as if feasting: to feast on cakes
6.
(transitive) to give a feast to
7.
(intransitive) foll by on. to take great delight (in): to feast on beautiful paintings
8.
(transitive) to regale or delight: to feast one's mind or one's eyes
Derived Forms
feaster, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French feste, from Latin festa, neuter plural (later assumed to be feminine singular) of festus joyful; related to Latin fānum temple, fēriae festivals
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 feasts

feast

n.

c.1200, "religious anniversary characterized by rejoicing" (rather than fasting), from Old French feste (12c., Modern French fête) "religious festival; noise, racket," from Vulgar Latin *festa (fem. singular; also source of Italian festa, Spanish fiesta), from Latin festa "holidays, feasts," noun use of neuter plural of festus "festive, joyful, merry," related to feriae "holiday" and fanum "temple," from PIE *dhes- "root of words in religious concepts" [Watkins]. The spelling -ea- was used in Middle English to represent the sound we mis-call "long e." Meaning "abundant meal" (whether public or private) is from late 14c.

v.

c.1300, "partake of a feast," from Old French fester, from feste (see feast (n.)). Related: Feasted; feasting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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feasts in the Bible

as a mark of hospitality (Gen. 19:3; 2 Sam. 3:20; 2 Kings 6:23); on occasions of domestic joy (Luke 15:23; Gen. 21:8); on birthdays (Gen. 40:20; Job 1:4; Matt. 14:6); and on the occasion of a marriage (Judg. 14:10; Gen. 29:22). Feasting was a part of the observances connected with the offering up of sacrifices (Deut. 12:6, 7; 1 Sam. 9:19; 16:3, 5), and with the annual festivals (Deut. 16:11). "It was one of the designs of the greater solemnities, which required the attendance of the people at the sacred tent, that the oneness of the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by statedly congregating in one place, and with one soul taking part in the same religious services. But that oneness was primarily and chiefly a religious and not merely a political one; the people were not merely to meet as among themselves, but with Jehovah, and to present themselves before him as one body; the meeting was in its own nature a binding of themselves in fellowship with Jehovah; so that it was not politics and commerce that had here to do, but the soul of the Mosaic dispensation, the foundation of the religious and political existence of Israel, the covenant with Jehovah. To keep the people's consciousness alive to this, to revive, strengthen, and perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapated as these annual feasts." (See FESTIVALS.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for feasts

feast

day or period of time set aside to commemorate, ritually celebrate or reenact, or anticipate events or seasons-agricultural, religious, or sociocultural-that give meaning and cohesiveness to an individual and to the religious, political, or socioeconomic community. Because such days or periods generally originated in religious celebrations or ritual commemorations that usually included sacred community meals, they are called feasts or festivals.

Learn more about feast with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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