There are 2 main definitions of firm in English:


Line breaks: firm
Pronunciation: /fəːm


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.
hard, solid, unyielding, resistant;
solidified, hardened;
compacted, compressed, condensed, dense, close-grained;
congealed, frozen, set, gelled;
stony, steely
literary adamantine
1.1Solidly in place and stable: no building can stand without firm foundations figurative he was unable to establish the shop 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.
secure, secured, stable, steady, strong, sturdy, fixed, fast, set, taut, established, tight;
immovable, irremovable, unshakeable;
stationary, motionless;
riveted, braced, cemented, nailed, tied
1.2Having steady but not excessive power or strength: you need a firm grip on the steering
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  • 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.
strong, vigorous, sturdy, robust, forceful
1.3Showing resolute determination and strength of character: parents should be firm with children and not give in to their demands
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.
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.
2.1Steadfast and constant: we became firm friends
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  • 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.
close, good, boon, intimate, confidential, inseparable, dear, special, fast, valued, treasured, cherished;
constant, enduring, abiding, devoted, loving, faithful, durable, reliable, deep-rooted, long-standing, long-lasting, steady, steadfast, stable, staunch
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.
definite, fixed, settled, decided, established, confirmed, agreed, exact, clear-cut, concrete, hard and fast;
unalterable, unchangeable, irreversible, writ in stone
2.3(Of a currency, shares, etc.) having a steady value or price which is more likely to rise than fall: the pound was firm against the dollar
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.


[with object] Back to top  
1Make more solid or resilient: how can I firm up a sagging bustline?
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: don’t tread around bushes to firm them
More 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.
1.2Make (an agreement or plan) explicit and definite: the agreements still have to be firmed up
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.
1.3 [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 [with complement]: the shares firmed 15p to 620p
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.


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In a resolute and determined manner: the Chancellor has held firm to tough economic policies 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.


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


be on firm ground

Be sure of one’s facts or secure in one’s position.
More 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

Strict discipline or control: children need a firm hand from day one
More 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.



More example sentences
  • I glimpse men in the back room and as soon as they see me look in their direction the door is shut firmly again.
  • We got to the alter and Debbie was shaking like a leaf as I held her hand firmly.
  • We firmly believe that the northern reaches canal project is one such opportunity.


More example sentences
  • The world sees a nation united in every way and gains confidence in the firmness of our resolve.
  • Persistent firmness and courtesy from the British might well have succeeded in securing adequate means of communication.
  • Behind all the teenagery, there is a firmness of purpose you don't often find in teenagers.

Definition of firm in:

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There are 2 main definitions of firm in English:


Line breaks: firm
Pronunciation: /fəːm


1A business concern, especially one involving a partnership of two or more people: state support for small firms 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.
1.1A group of hospital doctors working as a team, headed by a consultant.
1.2British informal An organized group of football supporters known for their aggressive attitudes towards rival fans.


late 16th century: from Spanish and 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).

Definition of firm in: