There are 2 main definitions of firm in English:

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firm1

Syllabification: firm
Pronunciation: /fərm
 
/

adjective

1Having a solid, almost unyielding surface or structure: the bed should be reasonably firm, but not too hard
More example sentences
  • White has shown his cards in the selection of a team and a bench that is tailored for a hard, firm ground and dry conditions.
  • Snow ramps led upwards through the maze of rocks, the surface surprisingly firm and consistent, allowing us to kick steps and chop holds with our axes.
  • Rob shivered a little, cold and uncomfortable lying on the firm, hard ground.
Synonyms
hard, solid, unyielding, resistant;
solidified, hardened, compacted, compressed, dense, stiff, rigid, frozen, set
1.1Solidly in place and stable: no building can stand without firm foundations figurative he was unable to establish the store on a firm financial footing
More example sentences
  • This goes a huge way towards putting the project on a firm financial footing (no pun intended) and turning it into a reality.
  • Coun Francis wished the clerk well and he praised him for putting the council on a firm financial footing.
  • Goldberg is confident that the center is on firm financial footing as it prepares to celebrate the coming anniversary.
Synonyms
secure, secured, stable, steady, strong, fixed, fast, set, taut, tight;
immovable, irremovable, stationary, motionless
1.2Having steady but not excessive power or strength: you need a firm grip on the steering
More example sentences
  • A large hand caught her arm in a firm grip and steadied her, tugging so that she could sit up properly.
  • I then proceeded to let out a few feet of tape and make sure I had a firm grip on it.
  • He started on the dishes again, making sure he kept a firm grip on every dish.
Synonyms
strong, vigorous, sturdy, forceful
1.3(Of a person, action, or attitude) showing resolute determination and strength of character: he didn’t like being firm with Larry, but he had to
More example sentences
  • Having taken our decision, this country will now pursue our aims with firm resolve and with determination.
  • Raising her head high, Julia decides to toughen herself and be firm with Cassie.
  • Sometimes, you have to be firm with minions or they won't stop bugging you, he thought.
Synonyms
adamant, emphatic, insistent, single-minded, in earnest, wholehearted;
hardline, committed, dyed-in-the-wool
2Strongly felt and unlikely to change: he retains a firm belief in the efficacy of prayer
More example sentences
  • Yet, we must be strong in our firm belief that every human heart desires to be free.
  • They were resilient people with strong faith and a firm belief in providence.
  • Russell had a strong conscience and held firm beliefs.
2.1(Of a person) steadfast and constant: we became firm friends
More example sentences
  • The two became firm friends and were close collaborators on medical topics for many years.
  • Constance was a firm believer that things have a way of working themselves out.
  • It was there that he met Tom, now aged 18, and the two become firm friends.
Synonyms
close, good, intimate, inseparable, dear, special, fast;
constant, devoted, loving, faithful, long-standing, steady, steadfast, rock-steady
2.2Decided upon and fixed or definite: she had no firm plans for the next day
More example sentences
  • But transgression, by definition, requires a firm set of rules.
  • The Crawford Court did not provide a firm definition of the meaning of testimonial.
  • Unfortunately, we can't offer a firm definition of what constitutes a high number of features.
Synonyms
definite, fixed, settled, decided, established, confirmed, agreed;
unalterable, unchangeable, irreversible
2.3(Of a currency, a commodity, or shares) having a steady value or price that is more likely to rise than fall: the dollar was firm against the yen
More example sentences
  • Brokers said they expect share prices to stay firm next week, supported by the planned establishment of new investment trusts.
  • While many commodity markets have been very much on the firm side, the grain and oilseed complex have been weak.
  • In the age of globalization, capital flows brought in by a firm currency can be more important than the increased trade afforded by a softer one.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Make (something) physically solid or resilient: an exercise program designed to firm up muscle tone
More example sentences
  • The Skin Firming Moisturiser with seaweed extract and caffeine promises to firm up flabby flesh and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  • But I rather like my body image, and I reckon I would be sorted if I just got a hula hoop to firm up my stomach muscles.
  • By working all heads of the triceps, you can firm up the backs of your arms and develop a gorgeous contour, Roberts says.
1.1Fix (a plant) securely in the soil.
Example sentences
  • Set a plant in each hole and firm the soil over the rootball and around its stem to support it.
  • Then, a second skewer comes in handy for gently firming the soil to help the seedling stand up until the roots take hold.
  • Add enough soil to fill the pot, firming the soil gently around the bulbs being careful not to bruise them.
1.2 [no object] (Of a price) rise slightly to reach a level considered secure: he believed house prices would firm by the end of the year
More example sentences
  • Economist Ben Simpendorfer added: " We are seeing a sustained reflationary trend; the old news is that retail prices are firming.
  • Forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation predict prices will firm in most major commodities.
  • Minister Walsh said butter prices have firmed throughout the EU and in Ireland due in part to the overall fall in milk deliveries in the EU and the attraction of cheese, which has also diverted milk away from butter.
1.3Make (an agreement or plan) explicit and definite: archaeologists have now firmed up this new view
More example sentences
  • Sources said the individual entrepreneurs involved have signed a confidentiality agreement which does not allow any of them to go public on the group's plans until schedules are firmed up.
  • Preliminary talks on possible sites have taken place between Leeds United and the city council at the highest level and will continue as plans are firmed up.
  • Once the staging agreement is firmed up, Headingley's future will be assured and the indications are that the ground will be under Yorkshire's control by the end of June at the latest.

adverb

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In a resolute and determined manner: she will stand firm against the government’s proposal
More example sentences
  • Redditch were causing the odd moment of consternation in the City defence but Wilson's men held firm and never looked in real danger of conceding.
  • He also knows that if you are prepared to stand firm and brazenly insist that you have always acted in good faith and done what you think is right, you can hope to con your way out of it.
  • Reds tried to break down the defence for the final 10 minutes but YM held firm and fully deserved their points.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French ferme, from Latin firmus.

More
  • Firm meaning ‘not yielding to pressure’ comes from Latin firmus, also the root of farm (Middle English), which originally meant a tax or rent. Firm meaning ‘a company or business’ has the same root, but the immediate origin is different. The Latin word had also given rise to Italian firma ‘confirmed by signature’, and in the late 16th century this was adopted into English to mean ‘an autograph or signature’. Over time it came to mean the name under which business was transacted by an organization, as in ‘trading under the firm of “Grant & Co.”’. Finally, in the late 18th century, firm became the term for a company.

Phrases

be on firm ground

1
Be sure of one’s facts or secure in one’s position, especially in a discussion.
Example sentences
  • Dealing with the grandson of his benefactor, my father was on firm ground in being able to reciprocate the kindness which had signalled acceptance and belonging.
  • As this is the simple truth - that to live is to feel oneself lost - he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground.
  • As our local MP is both a medical practitioner and the Federal Minister for Education, we felt we were on firm ground.

a firm hand

2
Strict discipline or control.
Example sentences
  • He certainly took a firm hand now, enforcing strict discipline and enjoining severe punishments for those who shirked their duties or who tried to go home again.
  • Generals always need to be controlled with a firm hand.
  • Therefore, the candidate must have a firm hand in controlling every single event that could be construed to help his campaign.

Words that rhyme with firm

affirm, berm, confirm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, term, therm, worm

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There are 2 main definitions of firm in English:

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firm2

Syllabification: firm
Pronunciation: /fərm
 
/

noun

A business concern, especially one involving a partnership of two or more people: a law firm
More example sentences
  • I'm a junior partner at a law firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Like your business, law firms are owned and operated by a set of partners.
  • In the property manager's office, Paul and I met with the law firm's office manager and real estate agent.
Synonyms

Origin

late 16th century: from Italian firma, from medieval Latin, from Latin firmare 'fix, settle' (in late Latin 'confirm by signature'), from firmus 'firm'; compare with farm. The word originally denoted one's autograph or signature; later (mid 18th century) the name under which the business of a firm was transacted, hence the firm itself (late 18th century).

More
  • Firm meaning ‘not yielding to pressure’ comes from Latin firmus, also the root of farm (Middle English), which originally meant a tax or rent. Firm meaning ‘a company or business’ has the same root, but the immediate origin is different. The Latin word had also given rise to Italian firma ‘confirmed by signature’, and in the late 16th century this was adopted into English to mean ‘an autograph or signature’. Over time it came to mean the name under which business was transacted by an organization, as in ‘trading under the firm of “Grant & Co.”’. Finally, in the late 18th century, firm became the term for a company.

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