Word Origin & History
"long pole on a ship to support the sail," O.E. mæst, from P.Gmc. *mastaz (cf. O.N. mastr, Du., Ger. mast), from PIE *mazdos "a pole, rod" (cf. L. malus "mast," O.Ir. matan "club," Ir. maide "a stick," O.C.S. mostu "bridge"). The single mast of an old ship was the boundary between quarters of officers
and crew, hence before the mast in the title of Dana's book, etc.
"fallen nuts; food for swine," O.E. mæst, from P.Gmc. *mastaz (cf. Du., Ger. mast "mast," O.E. verb mæsten "to fatten, feed"), perhaps from PIE *mazdo-/*maddo- "to be fat, to flow" (cf. Skt. meda "fat," Goth. mats "food," see meat