Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) The fast of the fourth month, kept on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; to commemorate also the incident recorded Exodus 32:19. (Comp. Jeremiah 52:6, 7.)
There was in addition to these the fast appointed by Esther (4:16).
Public national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate divine favour were sometimes held.
(1.) 1 Samuel 7:6;
(2.) 2 Chronicles 20:3;
(3.) Jeremiah 36:6-10;
(4.) Nehemiah 9:1.
There were also local fasts.
(1.) Judges 20:26;
(2.) 2 Samuel 1:12;
(3.) 1 Samuel 31:13;
(4.) 1 Kings 21:9-12;
(5.) Ezra 8:21-23:
(6.) Jonah 3:5-9.
There are many instances of private occasional fasting (1 Samuel 1:7: 20:34; 2 Samuel 3:35; 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 10:6; Nehemiah 1:4; Dan. 10:2, 3). Moses fasted forty days (Exodus 24:18; 34:28), and so also did Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Our Lord fasted forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2).
In the lapse of time the practice of fasting was lamentably abused (Isaiah 58:4; Jeremiah 14:12; Zechariah 7:5). Our Lord rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocritical pretences in fasting (Matthew 6:16). He himself appointed no fast. The early Christians, however, observed the ordinary fasts according to the law of their fathers (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Corinthians 6:5).
Noah Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language
1. (v. i.) To abstain from food; to omit to take nourishment in whole or in part; to go hungry.
2. (v. i.) To practice abstinence as a religious exercise or duty; to abstain from food voluntarily for a time, for the mortification of the body or appetites, or as a token of grief, or humiliation and penitence.
3. (v. i.) Abstinence from food; omission to take nourishment.
4. (v. i.) Voluntary abstinence from food, for a space of time, as a spiritual discipline, or as a token of religious humiliation.
5. (n.) A time of fasting, whether a day, week, or longer time; a period of abstinence from food or certain kinds of food; as, an annual fast.
6. (v.) Firmly fixed; closely adhering; made firm; not loose, unstable, or easily moved; immovable; as, to make fast the door.
7. (v.) Firm against attack; fortified by nature or art; impregnable; strong.
8. (v.) Firm in adherence; steadfast; not easily separated or alienated; faithful; as, a fast friend.
9. (v.) Permanent; not liable to fade by exposure to air or by washing; durable; lasting; as, fast colors.
10. (v.) Tenacious; retentive.
11. (v.) Not easily disturbed or broken; deep; sound.
12. (v.) Moving rapidly; quick in motion; rapid; swift; as, a fast horse.
13. (v.) Given to pleasure seeking; disregardful of restraint; reckless; wild; dissipated; dissolute; as, a fast man; a fast liver.
14. (a.) In a fast, fixed, or firmly established manner; fixedly; firmly; immovably.
15. (a.) In a fast or rapid manner; quickly; swiftly; extravagantly; wildly; as, to run fast; to live fast.
16. (n.) That which fastens or holds; especially, (Naut.) a mooring rope, hawser, or chain; -- called, according to its position, a bow, head, quarter, breast, or stern fast; also, a post on a pier around which hawsers are passed in mooring.
17. (n.) The shaft of a column, or trunk of pilaster.