Origin of firm

1300–50; < Latin firmus; replacing Middle English ferm < Middle French < Latin


1 Firm, hard, solid, stiff are applied to substances that tend to retain their form unaltered in spite of pressure or force. Firm often implies that something has been brought from a yielding state to a fixed or elastic one: An increased amount of pectin makes jellies firm. Hard is applied to substances so resistant that it is difficult to make any impression upon their surface or to penetrate their interior: as hard as a stone. Solid is applied to substances that without external support retain their form and resist pressure: Water in the form of ice is solid. It sometimes denotes the opposite of hollow: a solid block of marble. Stiff implies rigidity that resists a bending force: as stiff as a poker.
2 fast, stable, immovable.
4 established, confirmed.
5 determined, immovable, staunch, reliable.


firm·ly, adverb firm·ness, noun

Definition for firm (2 of 2)

firm 2
[ furm ]
/ fɜrm /


a partnership or association for carrying on a business.
the name or title under which associated parties transact business: the firm of Smith & Jones.

Origin of firm

1565–75; < Spanish firma signature (hence, legal name of a partnership, etc.), noun derivative firmar to sign < Latin firmāre to strengthen, confirm, derivative of firmus firm1

Example sentences from the Web for firm

British Dictionary definitions for firm (1 of 2)

firm 1
/ (fɜːm) /



in a secure, stable, or unyielding manner he stood firm over his obligation to pay


(sometimes foll by up) to make or become firm
(intr) Australian horse racing (of a horse) to shorten in odds

Derived forms of firm

firmly, adverb firmness, noun

Word Origin for firm

C14: from Latin firmus

British Dictionary definitions for firm (2 of 2)

firm 2
/ (fɜːm) /


a business partnership
any commercial enterprise
a team of doctors and their assistants
British slang
  1. a gang of criminals
  2. a gang of football hooligans

Word Origin for firm

C16 (in the sense: signature): from Spanish firma signature, title of a partnership or business concern, from firmar to sign, from Latin firmāre to confirm, from firmus firm