Origin of firm

1300–50; < Latin firmus; replacing Middle English ferm < Middle French < Latin
Related formsfirm·ly, adverbfirm·ness, noun

Synonyms for firm

1. Firm, hard, solid, stiff are applied to substances that tend to retain their form unaltered in spite of pressure or force. Firm often implies that something has been brought from a yielding state to a fixed or elastic one: An increased amount of pectin makes jellies firm. Hard is applied to substances so resistant that it is difficult to make any impression upon their surface or to penetrate their interior: as hard as a stone. Solid is applied to substances that without external support retain their form and resist pressure: Water in the form of ice is solid. It sometimes denotes the opposite of hollow: a solid block of marble. Stiff implies rigidity that resists a bending force: as stiff as a poker. 2. fast, stable, immovable. 4. established, confirmed. 5. determined, immovable, staunch, reliable.

Antonyms for firm

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for firmly

Contemporary Examples of firmly

Historical Examples of firmly

  • I remonstrated with him mildly but firmly, but only received insolence in return.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The latter had been blown down; we, however, re-erected it firmly again.

  • By this time his reputation had long been firmly established.

  • "Never mind about Aunt Judith," interrupted Decatur, firmly.

  • Firmly but gently he took her two wrists and thrust her away from him.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for firmly




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
Derived Formsfirmly, adverbfirmness, noun

Word Origin for firm

C14: from Latin firmus




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

Word Origin for firm

C16 (in the sense: signature): from Spanish firma signature, title of a partnership or business concern, from firmar to sign, from Latin firmāre to confirm, from firmus firm
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

Word Origin and History for firmly



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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper