1570s, "being of great extent or size," from French vaste, from Latin vastus "immense, extensive, huge," also "desolate, unoccupied, empty." The two meanings probably originally attached to two separate words, one with a long -a- one with a short -a-, that merged in early Latin (see waste (v.)). Meaning "very great in quantity or number" is from 1630s; that of "very great in degree" is from 1670s. Very popular early 18c. as an intensifier. Related: Vastly; vastness; vasty.
"vast treeless plains of South America," 1704, from Argentine Spanish pampas, plural of pampa, from Quechua (Inca) pampa "a plain." Related: Pampean. Similar landscapes north of the Amazon are called llanos (see llano).
c. 1600, "pertaining to a monument," from Late Latin monumentalis "pertaining to a monument," from monumentum (see monument). From 1650s in the loose sense of "conspicuous, vast, stupendous, comparable to a monument." Extended sense of "historically prominent, conspicuous to posterity" is by 1844. Related: Monumentally.
early 15c., "bottom of the sea," from Old French profundite (Modern French profondité) and directly from Late Latin profunditatem (nominative profunditas) "depth, intensity, immensity," from profundus "deep, vast" (see profound). Meaning "depth of intellect, feeling, or spiritual mystery" in English is from c. 1500.
"vast, far-reaching;" c. 1600 of immaterial, c. 1700 of material things; from Late Latin extensivus, from extens-, past-participle stem of Latin extendere "to stretch out, spread" (see extend). Earlier in a medical sense, "characterized by swelling" (early 15c.). Related: Extensively; extensiveness.
AVAST. — The order to stop, or pause, in any exercise or operation; as Avast heaving — that is to say, desist, or stop, from drawing in the cable or hawser, by means of the capstan &c. [George Biddlecombe, "The Art of Rigging," 1848]