January 04, 2012
vast (adjective)
\VAST\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: very great in extent, size, amount, degree, or intensity
How do you use it?
"The creative sun shone glorious on the vast expanse of cloudland; hill and dale, mountain and valley springing into existence responsive to his rays and steadily developing in beauty and individuality." (John Muir, Steep Trails)
Are you a word wiz?

"Vast" comes from the Latin word "vastus," which is akin to the Old High German word "wuosti." Which answer do you think gives the correct meaning of "wuosti"?

If you think there's a vast difference between D and the other answers, you're right. The meaning of "wuosti" is "empty, desolate." Although "vast" is used to describe lots of things from knowledge to numbers, the word most commonly describes areas or regions that people also sometimes describe as "empty" or "desolate." Deserts, oceans, plains--all are frequently described as vast. Another word that comes from "vastus" is "waste." When "waste" was first used, it referred to a region that has few people or is empty of most signs of life, and specifically to a desert.
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