adjective, firm·er, firm·est.
- not soft or yielding when pressed; comparatively solid, hard, stiff, or rigid: firm ground; firm texture.
- securely fixed in place.
- not shaking or trembling; steady: a firm voice.
- not likely to change; fixed; settled; unalterable: a firm belief.
- steadfast or unwavering, as persons or principles: firm friends.
- indicating firmness or determination: a firm expression.
- not fluctuating much or falling, as prices, values, etc.: The stock market was firm today.
verb (used with object)
- to make firm; tighten or strengthen (sometimes followed by up): to firm up one’s hold on something.
- to steady or fix (sometimes followed by up): to firm up prices.
verb (used without object)
- to become firm or fixed (sometimes followed by up): Butter firms by churning.
- (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.
- firmly: He stood firm.
- not soft or yielding to a touch or pressure; rigid; solid
- securely in position; stable or stationary
- definitely established; decided; settled
- enduring or steady; constant
- having determination or strength; resolute
- (of prices, markets, etc) tending to rise
- in a secure, stable, or unyielding mannerhe 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
- a business partnership
- any commercial enterprise
- a team of doctors and their assistants
- British slang
- a gang of criminals
- a gang of football hooligans
c.1300, fermen “make firm, establish,” from Old French fermer (12c.) or directly from Latin firmare, from firmus (see firm (adj.)). Related: Firmed; firming.
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.)).