adjective, firm·er, firm·est.

  1. not soft or yielding when pressed; comparatively solid, hard, stiff, or rigid: firm ground; firm texture.
  2. securely fixed in place.
  3. not shaking or trembling; steady: a firm voice.
  4. not likely to change; fixed; settled; unalterable: a firm belief.
  5. steadfast or unwavering, as persons or principles: firm friends.
  6. indicating firmness or determination: a firm expression.
  7. not fluctuating much or falling, as prices, values, etc.: The stock market was firm today.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make firm; tighten or strengthen (sometimes followed by up): to firm up one’s hold on something.
  2. to steady or fix (sometimes followed by up): to firm up prices.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become firm or fixed (sometimes followed by up): Butter firms by churning.
  2. (of prices, markets, etc.) to recover; become stronger, as after a decline (sometimes followed by up): Stock prices firmed again today.

adverb, firm·er, firm·est.

  1. firmly: He stood firm.


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


  1. not soft or yielding to a touch or pressure; rigid; solid
  2. securely in position; stable or stationary
  3. definitely established; decided; settled
  4. enduring or steady; constant
  5. having determination or strength; resolute
  6. (of prices, markets, etc) tending to rise


  1. in a secure, stable, or unyielding mannerhe stood firm over his obligation to pay


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


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

late 14c., from Old French ferm (12c.) “firm, strong, vigorous, steadfast; loyal, faithful,” from Latin firmus “firm, strong, steadfast, enduring, stable,” from PIE root *dher- “to hold, support” (cf. Sanskrit dharmah “custom, law,” Greek thronos “seat,” Lithuanian dirzmas “strong,” Welsh dir “hard,” Breton dir “steel”). The return in late 1500s to -i- from Middle English ferme was modeled on Latin. Related: Firmly; firmness.


“business house,” 1744, from German Firma “a business, name of a business,” originally “signature,” from Italian firma “signature,” from firmare “to sign,” from Latin firmare “make firm, affirm,” in Late Latin, “confirm (by signature),” from firmus “firm, stable” (see firm (adj.)).


c.1300, fermen “make firm, establish,” from Old French fermer (12c.) or directly from Latin firmare, from firmus (see firm (adj.)). Related: Firmed; firming.

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