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[fahrm] /fɑrm/
a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo, etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.
land or water devoted to the raising of animals, fish, plants, etc.:
a pig farm; an oyster farm; a tree farm.
a similar, usually commercial, site where a product is manufactured or cultivated:
a cheese farm; a honey farm.
the system, method, or act of collecting revenue by leasing a territory in districts.
a country or district leased for the collection of revenue.
a fixed yearly amount accepted from a person in view of local or district taxes that he or she is authorized to collect.
a tract of land on which an industrial function is carried out, as the drilling or storage of oil or the generation of electricity by solar power.
English History.
  1. the rent or income from leased property.
  2. the condition of being leased at a fixed rent; possession under lease; a lease.
Also called farm team, farm club. Chiefly Baseball. a team in a minor league that is owned by or affiliated with a major-league team, for training or keeping players until ready or needed.
Obsolete. a fixed yearly amount payable in the form of rent, taxes, or the like.
verb (used with object)
to cultivate (land).
to raise (animals, fish, plants, etc.) on land or in water.
to take the proceeds or profits of (a tax, undertaking, etc.) on paying a fixed sum.
to let or lease (taxes, revenues, an enterprise, etc.) to another for a fixed sum or a percentage (often followed by out).
to let or lease the labor or services of (a person) for hire.
to contract for the maintenance of (a person, institution, etc.):
a county that farms its poor.
verb (used without object)
to cultivate the soil; operate a farm.
Verb phrases
farm out,
  1. to assign (work, privileges, or the like) to another by financial agreement; subcontract; lease:
    The busy shipyard farmed out two construction jobs to a smaller yard.
  2. to assign the care of (a child or dependent person) to another:
    She farms her elderly aunt out to a retired nurse during the workweek.
  3. Chiefly Baseball. to assign (a player) to a farm.
  4. to exhaust (farmland) by overcropping.
  5. to drill (oil or gas wells), especially by subcontract on land owned or leased by another.
buy the farm, Slang. to die or be killed.
Origin of farm
1250-1300; Middle English ferme “lease, rented land, rent,” from Anglo-French, Old French, from Vulgar Latin ferma (unattested), derivative of fermāre (unattested) for Latin firmāre “to make firm, confirm”; see firm1
Related forms
farmable, adjective
minifarm, noun
nonfarm, adjective
profarm, adjective
superfarm, noun
unfarmable, adjective
unfarmed, adjective
well-farmed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for farm out
Historical Examples
  • Meanwhile the boy had gone home to his father's farm out in the country, and before Christmas he was dead.

    The Greater Inclination Edith Wharton
  • He wanted his grandfather to buy him a farm out there where he could breed horses.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • E got some work at a farm out at Pendragon and 'e was just goin' there when I came along and made 'im come to Spain. '

    Fortitude Hugh Walpole
  • I only wish his volk were on my farm—out they should go, or I would know the reason why.

  • But I hate the care of even a tiny and twopenny house and wish I could farm out the same.

  • Grandfather and his boys, four in all, fairly carved a farm out of the big forest that covered the cold rocky hills.

    Death Valley in '49 William Lewis Manly
  • For it is a hard thing to make a farm out of nothing, even in fifteen years.

  • And they had squeezed farm after farm out of the settlers hands for rum, and thus had bountifully enriched themselves.

    Following the Equator, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • "You seem to forget that to take the farm out of this poor man's hands would be to ruin him," replied Sir Arthur, quietly.

  • When I first saw you on your father's farm out in Kansas, you was as wild a little gypsy as I ever set eyes on.

    The Faith Healer William Vaughn Moody
British Dictionary definitions for farm out

farm out

verb (transitive, adverb)
to send (work) to be done by another person, firm, etc; subcontract
to put (a child, etc) into the care of a private individual; foster
to lease to another for a rent or fee the right to operate (a business for profit, land, etc) or the right to collect (taxes)


  1. a tract of land, usually with house and buildings, cultivated as a unit or used to rear livestock
  2. (as modifier): farm produce
  3. (in combination): farmland
a unit of land or water devoted to the growing or rearing of some particular type of vegetable, fruit, animal, or fish: a fish farm
an installation for storage
a district of which one or more taxes are leased
  1. a fixed sum paid by an individual or group for the right of collecting and retaining taxes, rents, etc
  2. a fixed sum paid regularly by a town, county, etc, in lieu of taxes
  3. the leasing of a source of revenue to an individual or group
  4. a fixed tax, rent, etc, paid regularly
  1. to cultivate (land)
  2. to rear (stock, etc) on a farm
(intransitive) to engage in agricultural work, esp as a way of life
(transitive) to look after a child for a fixed sum
  1. to collect the moneys due and retain the profits from (a tax district, business, etc) for a specified period on payment of a sum or sums
  2. to operate (a franchise) under similar conditions
See also farm out
Derived Forms
farmable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French ferme rented land, ultimately from Latin firmāre to settle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for farm out



c.1300, "fixed payment (usually in exchange for taxes collected, etc.), fixed rent," from Old French ferme "rent, lease," from Medieval Latin firma "fixed payment," from Latin firmare "to fix, settle, confirm, strengthen," from firmus "firm" (see firm (adj.)).

Sense of "tract of leased land" is first recorded early 14c.; that of "cultivated land" (leased or not) is 1520s. Phrase buy the farm "die in battle," is at least from World War II, perhaps a cynical reference to the draftee's dream of getting out of the war and going home, in many cases to a peaceful farmstead. But fetch the farm is prisoner slang from at least 1879 for "get sent to the infirmary," with reference to the better diet and lighter duties there.


mid-15c., "to rent (land)," from Anglo-French fermer, from ferme (see farm (n.)). The agricultural sense is from 1719. Original sense is retained in to farm out.



mid-15c., "to rent (land)," from Anglo-French fermer, from ferme (see farm (n.)). The agricultural sense is from 1719. Original sense is retained in to farm out.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for farm out

farm 1


To be killed in action; die in the armed services; buy the farm: Just about the whole company farmed that day

Related Terms

bet the farm, fat farm, funny farm, nuthouse

[1970s+ Army; fr buy the farm]

farm 2


A minor-league club used as a training ground by a major-league club: Columbus is a Yankee farm (1898+ Baseball)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with farm out

farm out

Assign something to an outsider; subcontract something. For example, The contractor was so busy he had to farm out two jobs to a colleague, or When their mother was hospitalized, the children had to be farmed out to the nearest relatives. This term originally referred to letting or leasing land. Today it usually refers to subcontracting work or the care of a dependent to another. In baseball it means “to assign a player to a lesser (farm) league,” as opposed to a big league [ Mid-1600s ]


In addition to the idiom beginning with farm also see: buy it (the farm)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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