Definition of feast in US English:



  • 1A large meal, typically one in celebration of something.

    ‘a wedding feast’
    • ‘Most feasts and celebrations have religious aspects.’
    • ‘Speaking of food, the daily supper feasts were a copious spread of enormous proportion.’
    • ‘He also wishes to extend to you an invitation to dine with him at a feast of dancing and delights.’
    • ‘On the same night that the game's elite were tucking into a feast at the champions dinner, here was Daly selling merchandise over the counter of his ramshackle trailer.’
    • ‘The guests had gathered to enjoy a rich meal, celebrating the first day of the wedding feast.’
    • ‘Again there is a religious ceremony and a feast.’
    • ‘Traditional elements of the festival, including the gourmet dinner, restaurant meal deals and roving feasts, will remain.’
    • ‘We collect donations and the leftovers of wedding feasts and feed the poor.’
    • ‘The profane-sounding name simply mirrors the character of the adjacent area used for various purposes, among other things joyful cult celebrations attended by ritual dances and feasts.’
    • ‘There was even a nice crop of berries and some fruit trees nearby and they had quite the feast for their meal.’
    • ‘Gawain called the meal a feast, but his hosts brushed off the compliment, saying the next meal would be better.’
    • ‘The wedding feast is the highpoint of any marriage function.’
    • ‘Medieval banquets, Viking feasts, dinner parties, wedding ceremonies, conferences and exhibitions: you name it, this venue can do it.’
    • ‘Great battles were fought and important conferences were planned, pacts signed, and feasts and religious ceremonies celebrated in its shade.’
    • ‘On weekends, they prepare earth ovens and bake food for the evening meal and a Sunday feast.’
    • ‘At wedding celebrations and religious feasts, coffee is drunk.’
    • ‘It was a must at wedding feasts, despite the various dals, since, unlike the oily and rich dishes, it soothed the stomach.’
    • ‘Collins was reported to have chosen the head chef at the hotel, John Williams, to prepare the wedding feast.’
    • ‘The party sat around the table, eating the celebration feast.’
    • ‘The peppers' smoky-sweet flavor makes a satisfying feast out of any meal.’
    banquet, celebration meal, lavish dinner, sumptuous repast, large meal, formal meal, formal dinner
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A plentiful supply of something enjoyable, especially for the mind or senses.
      ‘the concert season offers a feast of classical music’
      • ‘While the game didn't offer a feast of goals for fans back home to enjoy during their World Cup breakfast, it was a case of the result counting for far more than the performance.’
      • ‘And this season's contest, to be held on March 29 at Percy Road, should be no different with a feast of rugby set to be on offer.’
      • ‘Tooting is preparing itself for a feast of Eastern delight to celebrate the culture of the Asian subcontinent.’
      • ‘The general public and international visitors were treated to a feast of squash that has left them hungry for more.’
      • ‘According to the philosophy, each meal should be a feast for all of your senses.’
      • ‘People who actually recognise good music when they see it realise that there is a lot more to this band than may first meet the eye, and that to listen to them is to enjoy a feast of musical delights.’
      • ‘Twelve students from years nine and ten cooked up a feast of Asian treats for members of staff, with retiring head teacher John Roberts among those tucking in.’
      • ‘There's a feast of films vying for moviegoers' attention this season.’
      • ‘Days like this one are memorable when a large group is treated to such a feast of fine golf.’
      • ‘The room is a feast of gilt and opulent yellow-patterned fabrics, and it has a floor of aged, biscuit-brown polished wood rather than the almost inescapable blond parquet.’
      • ‘Audiences will be treated to a feast of humour and stunning visual effects in a non-stop, action-packed event for the whole family to enjoy.’
      • ‘For your pleasure is a feast of the finest entertainers in the land!’
      • ‘Furthermore, a stroll around the campus offers a visual feast you don't have to be a fine artist to appreciate.’
      • ‘The Party was then treated to a feast of food, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.’
      • ‘Only a religious feast can ultimately satisfy human need.’
      • ‘Whether you come from north or south, by road or by rail, or by air to the recently improved airfield, you enjoy a feast of coastal scenery which helps you to relax, ready for holiday making.’
      • ‘In Italy, spring offers a feast of events for the art lover.’
      • ‘And for our listeners this morning, we have a delectation of delights, a feast of fantasies.’
      • ‘They are men and women in blue, numbering 15, and all set to treat you to a feast of a comic opera.’
      • ‘The week will then offer a feast of music and poetry.’
      treat, delight, joy, pleasure, gratification
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An annual religious celebration.
      fete, gala day, fair, festival, carnival, pageant, jubilee, jamboree, party, garden party, celebration
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A day dedicated to a particular saint.
      ‘the feast of St. Joseph’
      • ‘The popular Christian life in its annual liturgical cycle was a life punctuated by feasts, vigils, fasts, and celebrations.’
      • ‘Even gloomy January is a good time to visit the region - at the end of the month, every village celebrates the feast of Saint Vincent, the patron saint of winegrowers.’
      • ‘In Russian tradition, name days - feasts of major saints - are more important than birthdays.’
      • ‘The day of the coronation was appointed for the day January 29, during the feast of Candlemas.’
      • ‘For each Sunday, principal feasts, and some holy days, Pryce chose a short poem or prose selection that shares a theme with readings assigned to that day.’
      • ‘The day of the assassination bid was also the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.’
      • ‘We recommended for example to incorporate religious feasts let's say as national holidays and we made some proposal for the development of a better knowledge of religious thought.’
      • ‘I know that the Mayor of Pisa, if he had any say in it at all, would like the tower to be reopened in June next year to coincide with the feast of their patron saint.’
      • ‘In a more vigorous vein he wrote some church music, including a Mass in the old style and the famous music for Vespers on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary.’
      • ‘Each province has at least one local festival of its own, usually on the feast of its patron saint, so that there is always a fiesta going on somewhere in the country.’
      • ‘On the island itself, due to the dominance of Roman Catholicism, the feast of saints and other Church holy days are observed.’
      • ‘The most distinctive buildings, events, customs, and ideas are Catholic, from the many community churches and chapels, to the saints' days' feasts, to the week-long wakes in the homes of the dead.’
      • ‘One is the feast of St. Leonard, the patron saint of livestock, who is honored each November with festive horse-and-cart parades.’
      • ‘The biggest holiday among Basques is the feast of their patron saint, Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order.’
      • ‘Popular religious and national festivals and major feasts of the Christian year are also important and reveal the presence of popular religion in Greece.’
      • ‘It was therefore fitting that on the feast of the Assumption, the Church, dedicated to Our Lady, was packed to overflowing.’
      • ‘Do not Christmas and Easter, and almost all the Christian feasts, have a non-Christian origin?’
      • ‘Villages celebrate their patron saints' feasts at various times during the year.’
      • ‘On February 14th is celebrated the feast of two saints named Valentine.’
      • ‘But we like to keep our religious feasts neatly separated.’
      festival, religious festival, feast day, saint's day, holy day, holiday, fete, festivity, celebration
      View synonyms


[no object]
  • 1Eat and drink sumptuously.

    ‘the men would congregate and feast after hunting’
    • ‘In the city they spend their days feasting, gaming, love-making and partaking of beautiful music.’
    • ‘There, musicians played and people danced and sang and drank and feasted.’
    • ‘They and the rest are feasting at his table.’
    • ‘They shared, according to Tacitus, a war orientated Teutonic lifestyle with a veneration for the portentous powers of sage women and a predilection for feasting and drinking to excess.’
    • ‘They talked, feasted for hours on rich Italian food, and drank heavily - all for free.’
    • ‘Achilles slaughters sheep and they feast and drink.’
    • ‘I have bats upstairs who will feast tonight, and that's good.’
    • ‘The assistant peered through the window and saw a group of people feasting, drinking, and reveling.’
    • ‘Jordan quickly consumed himself in playing with the toy as he feasted happily upon the sugars provided.’
    • ‘He was feasted for a year and then cast out of the city.’
    gorge on, dine on, eat one's fill of, indulge in, overindulge in
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1feast on Eat large quantities of.
      ‘we sat feasting on barbecued chicken and beer’
      • ‘I'm lucky, for I've got an invite to a bash in the Drill Hall where I spend the night dancing, drinking and feasting on mutton soup, pies and sandwiches.’
      • ‘In the summer they have parties on each allotment in turn, feasting on barbecues and getting sloshed on homemade wines.’
      • ‘Three teenage schoolgirls were feasting on deep-fried chicken and chips and looked on, admiring the grace and agility of the couples.’
      • ‘There, in the clearing, a wolf was feasting on a rabbit it had brought down.’
      • ‘Without supervision, the goat will gobble the cabbage whereas the wolf will not hesitate to feast on the goat.’
      • ‘But for those still struggling to get kids chomping on carrots and feasting on fruit, there are a number of strategies to coax them into a healthier and more varied food regime.’
      • ‘He walked straight past his expectant friend, dipped his good hand into one of his pockets and sat down, feasting on a large slab of cheese.’
      • ‘He regularly feasts on giant meals of low-fat, high-fiber foods like cabbage, which stay in the stomach longer before breaking down.’
      • ‘When he was finished, he sat beside Michael and they shared out the provisions and feasted on chicken and wine.’
      • ‘The children feasted on hot dogs, barbecued by their childminders' husbands.’
      • ‘On the canopy above, there are monkeys racing across the branches, and a troupe of squirrel monkeys, also feasting on ants.’
      • ‘Amanda feasts on some vegetables, a tossed salad here and there, some fruit and pieces of chicken to make up her protein intake.’
      • ‘But, whereas the vast majority of youngsters tucked into chips and feasted on cake, fresh fruit and yoghurts were not as popular.’
      • ‘Our last night was spent feasting on stuffed peppers prepared by a Turkish chef who had trained in Germany.’
      eat, eat up, devour, ingest, swallow, gobble, gobble up, wolf down, gorge oneself on, feast on
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object Give (someone) a plentiful and delicious meal.
      ‘he was feasted and invited to all the parties’
      • ‘In ancient times, before a battle, a general would feast his soldiers with alcohol and meat.’
      • ‘It was at these capitals where the chief would feast his people after collecting very beautiful and attractive sand, which he spread around the palace.’
      • ‘Women especially would just love to impress their spouse by feasting them with the tasty dishes.’
      • ‘The night before Greatgrandfather left, the village feasted him and sang music and poured jugs of beer over his head.’
      • ‘For them, festivals are full of hassles, not to mention, the deluge of friends and relatives, who have to be feasted with the appropriate traditional dishes in the appropriate quantities.’
      hold a banquet for, throw a feast for, wine and dine, ply with food and drink, give someone a meal, feed, cater for
      View synonyms


  • feast one's eyes on

    • Gaze at with pleasure.

      • ‘So you enter the exhibition through a scrap metal maze and exit via a talking house - and in between, you can feast your eyes on all the fantastic art that can be made out of metal, paper and plastic.’
      • ‘Marie helped me up, and we feasted our eyes on how big it was.’
      • ‘This event is being shared by over 40 countries and here in Sligo the line up is one to feast your eyes on.’
      • ‘There was so much to feast the eyes, and stomach, on.’
      • ‘We found ourselves running round the museum as closing time approached, trying to feast our eyes on as many of the archaeological treasurers as possible, devouring every ancient tale and fable.’
      • ‘Those gathered for the event feasted their eyes on the works of art produced by these children displayed at the pizzeria.’
      • ‘There is a tea room for drinks and snacks and you can even feast your eyes on some of the displays set out there too.’
      • ‘There was almost a riot outside the emperor's throne in the Forbidden City: none of the elderly Chinese tourists wanted to miss the chance of feasting their eyes on that lavish golden sight.’
      • ‘As we travelled through the country on good highways to the Baltic Sea we feasted our eyes on rich farmland and well kept farm homes.’
      • ‘We sat in the second half of the restaurant munching on warm bread and butter while we feasted our eyes on the menu.’
      observe, view, look at, eye, gaze at, stare at, gape at, peer at
      View synonyms
  • feast or famine

    • Either too much of something or too little.

      • ‘In many cases, the power game can become feast or famine.’
      • ‘‘Regarding bird-watching, it's known to be feast or famine,’ he said.’
      • ‘However, this still is a team driven by power, which means it often will be feast or famine.’
      • ‘The cycle of feast or famine in production may not be as extreme as it once was but it still exists and there can be significant dry spells when a large-scale film facility would be filled with the sounds of silence.’
      • ‘It's either feast or famine with Terrence Long.’
      • ‘It's feast or famine at golf clubs and we're feasting at the moment.’
      • ‘It's either feast or famine for the fragile Canadian feature-film industry.’
      • ‘After having come off another slow period I decided that a small part-time job might help to temper the feast or famine cycle.’
      • ‘It's been feast or famine at the company.’
  • skeleton at the feast

    • A person or thing that brings gloom or sadness to an otherwise pleasant or celebratory occasion.

      • ‘It is also the ghost at the feast of much polite society in Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘But his eyes were drawn nevertheless to the filthy bundle of rags, the skeleton at the feast.’
      • ‘The party has become used to such phantom presences: for the past four years, its former idol appeared like the proverbial ghost at the feast to deliver his speech, take the plaudits, yet shun the centre stage.’


Middle English: from Old French feste (noun), fester (verb), from Latin festa, neuter plural of festus ‘joyous’. Compare with fête and fiesta.