Meaning of FIRM in English


I. ˈfərm, -ə̄m, -əim adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: alteration (influenced by Latin firmus ) of Middle English ferm, ferme, from Middle French ferm, from Latin firmus; akin to Latin fretus trusting, daring, Greek thrēsasthai to sit down, thronos chair, throne, Sanskrit dhārayati he holds, carries, keeps; basic meaning: holding, supporting


a. : securely or solidly fixed in place : not loose : immovable

his teeth were firm — D.B.Chidsey

firm in the saddle

the gate and its pillars were firm , but at one side the fence had fallen — John Glassco


(1) : not weak, wavering, or uncertain : solid , robust

walked with a firm tread

a firm handshake

a firm steady touch on the piano

(2) : sound , healthy

her mind was still firm ; but her limbs trembled … violently — Ellen Glasgow

c. : having a solid or compact structure or texture : withstanding stress or pressure : not flabby or soft

firm flesh

firm muscles

the snow was firm , not powdery

the creek has a firm bottom



(1) : not subject to change, revision, or withdrawal : fixed , settled , definite , established

at this meeting … two firm decisions were taken — New York Times

I cannot quote you a firm price

is this a firm offer

like a mother with no baby-sitter and a firm date at the theater — E.B.White

(2) : not subject to price weakness on an increase in offerings : steady — used especially of commodities, securities, and interest rates

(3) of electric power : dependable or flowing steadily because supplemented by a reserve source


(1) : not easily moved, shaken, excited, or disturbed : unshaken , convinced , determined

firm nerves

a firm believer in democracy

firm confidence in his own ability

(2) : not fickle or vacillating : steadfast , loyal , constant

a firm friend

firm in his devotion

(3) : making no concessions : showing no weakness : unyielding , rigorous , inflexible , severe , hard

a firm and even tough diplomacy — Hugh Gaitskell

when a strong hand must be used, be impersonal but firm — Dorothy Barclay

firm discipline — L.C.Douglas


(1) : not easily challenged or undone : assured , secure , strong

took firm possession of the enemy's trenches

holds a firm position as the country's leading poet

this horse is a firm favorite for the big race

(2) : well-founded , certain

the fuller and firmer account would have set several facts in clearer … perspective — A.S.P.Woodhouse

: thorough

he has a firm knowledge of the subject

(3) : marked by solidity, precision, or clarity : convincingly, realistically, or solidly drawn

the plot is thin, but the atmosphere is firm — Nicola Chiaromonte

the deep richness of the book … and its firm design — W.T.Scott

3. : indicating firmness or resolution

the firm almost arrogant voice of a vigorous young man — E.K.Genn

a firm mouth


hard , solid : firm may apply to a resistant tight compactness or resilient consistency of substance withstanding strain, stress, or pressure; it may imply stability or resolution

a firm weave

a firm foundation

the snow, far from being soft and powdery, was firm and hard — John Hunt & Edmund Hillary

only the pier actually hit was demolished; the adjoining piers stood firm — O.S.Nock

he stood firm on recommendations he believed were to the city's benefit, often in the face of popular opposition — Current Biography

she was firm and determined with a firmness that was impervious to assault

hard may apply to a strong and rigid resistance to pressure or a sound unyielding stability; it may imply unyielding or harsh obduracy

hard coal

hard wood

hard cash

a hard man to deal with

the oppressive conflict between esthetic values and a hard materialistic view of nature and human nature — Victor Lowe

solid , as opposed to fluid, indicates a density and coherence giving fixed form; as opposed to flimsy or unsubstantial, it indicates strong sound stability; in reference to persons, it may imply complete reliability or sobriety

a solid substance

the bungalow was a very solid one — Rudyard Kipling

courses that are solid in purpose and preparation and that are backed up with a maximum of good scholarship — Elizabeth Jacobs

all we knew was that there was something of force and majesty and authority, solid, consistent, and beautiful — R.A.Cram

II. adverb

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English ferm, ferme, from ferm, ferme, adjective

: fixedly , steadfastly , solidly , firmly — used chiefly in the phrases stand firm and hold firm

if England had not stood firm … our way of life would have gone up the flue — Richard Joseph

begged his men to hold firm till relief came

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English fermen, firmen, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fermer, from Latin firmare, from firmus

transitive verb



(1) : to cause to become firm in texture or consistency : made solid or compact

firm cheese

firming a light soil by rolling or harrowing — F.D.Smith & Barbara Wilcox

a new face cream that firms your skin

(2) : to make fast or secure : set firmly : tighten

firm a post in the ground

firming the grip on the sword — Tom Lea

b. : to bolster the courage or resources of : strengthen in some way : encourage

firmed herself with great care for the day — R.O.Bowen

— often used with up

voted a state of siege to firm up his government — Time

unless other factors firm up the … price index substantially, it goes down — Wall Street Journal

his failure to firm up his materialism … with data from the natural and social sciences — P.B.Rice

c. : settle

firm a contract

: confirm , establish

2. obsolete : sign , validate

intransitive verb

1. : to become firm in some way : take clear, definite, or fixed shape : harden , crystallize , jell

his face firmed and he spoke with restrained anger

confidence is firming that the slump will be of short duration

— often used with up

opinion on this is firming up, and it's more optimistic than it was — Kiplinger Washington Letter

the cheese is firming

diplomats said more informal soundings must take place before things firm up — New York Herald Tribune

2. : to recover from a decline : expand or rise after a contraction or fall

after a long decline prices are firming again

— often used with up

cattle prices are firming up

the market firmed up a bit

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Spanish firma, from firmar to affirm, confirm, sign, from Latin firmare

1. obsolete : signature ; especially : official signature of state papers


[German firma, from obsolete German, signature, from Italian, from firmare to sign, from Latin firmare to make firm, confirm]

a. : the name, title, or style under which a company transacts business : the firm name

b. : a partnership of two or more persons not recognized as a legal person distinct from the members composing it — compare company 3

c. : a business unit or enterprise

the organizational framework within which the Soviet firm operates — Holland Hunter

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.