Hard and Fast

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Hard and Fast : Phrases


Rigidly adhered to - without doubt or debate.



This is a nautical term. A ship that was hard and fast was simply one that was firmly beached on land.

The term must have been well-known by the early 19th century as it was use in a figurative sense then. For example, The [London] Times, January 1820:

"She was laid before the fire, at about a yard distance, and was hard and fast asleep."

The Sailor's Workbook; William Henry Smyth's 1867 nautical dictionary defines the term:

"Hard and fast. Said of a ship on shore."

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