Definition of farm in English:



  • 1An area of land and its buildings, used for growing crops and rearing animals:

    ‘a farm of 100 acres’
    [as modifier] ‘farm workers’
    • ‘Some species of waterfowl adapted to feeding on rice, barley, lettuce, and other crops grown on farms in California.’
    • ‘My uncles' farm was one of three farms on a private road.’
    • ‘In 2002 he bought neighbouring farms and his estate is now 2500 acres.’
    • ‘Only 20 percent of the small family farms in the area are left.’
    • ‘Joseph began work as a farm labourer and the family settled into Canterbury life.’
    • ‘The students of the school were told about the need for preserving farm animals.’
    • ‘Long active in the community, he has operated a family farm for 30 years.’
    • ‘She is one of four children who grew up on their father's farm in the south.’
    • ‘Private cars and visitors, too, must comply if they visit farms in the area.’
    • ‘I have certainly come across studies and examples where badly managed larger scale farms have damaged the environment.’
    • ‘The highlight of my summers was going out to my uncle's farm about three miles outside the town.’
    • ‘Every evening the animals will be taken to a farm on the outskirts of Dublin where they can rest overnight.’
    • ‘The City of Hamburg owns two large organic farms.’
    • ‘He says that 200,000-acre factory farms fit his vision of what agriculture should be.’
    • ‘Items sold were mostly local and seasonal, farm produce or locally made artefacts.’
    • ‘Your neighbour brings you back a sack of potatoes from his uncle's farm.’
    • ‘He put my grandfather's farm up for sale and had an offer on it.’
    • ‘But the ultimate cost will be the tragic demise of small family farms around the world.’
    • ‘Total land in farms, at 46,400 acres, is unchanged from last year.’
    • ‘The 37-year-old farm labourer has one week left to find a home.’
    smallholding, holding, farmstead, steading, grange, plantation, estate
    farmland, land, acreage, acres
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    1. 1.1 A farmhouse:
      ‘a half-timbered farm’
      • ‘Each age built something they thought lasting - fortress, farms, railway, church or quarry - but all have given way.’
      • ‘She and her husband then joined their daughter and son-in-law in transforming Blunsdon House Hotel from a farm into a guesthouse and then into the large establishment it is today.’
      • ‘More than 40 of these cottages were built by the end of the 19th century together with a church, school, stores, workshops, a farm and even a fire station.’
      • ‘He called at several big houses as well as farms and cottages, usually selling out before arriving ‘home’.’
      • ‘They also have a residential farm which houses up to 15 young people, and have various other services to help homeless people get into good accommodation.’
      • ‘They visited farms, museums and castle sites and had a very enjoyable time accompanied by their teachers.’
      • ‘Of course it's not easy to read a fast-moving plane's registration number as it roars and dives low over houses, farms and factories.’
      • ‘It has established numerous farms, stores, and restaurants.’
      • ‘Since they have to be read regularly, they are placed in post offices, farms, radio stations, lighthouses, airports, etc and mostly in towns and cities.’
      • ‘Key documents have been hidden in farms, homes and mosques.’
      • ‘He added that this goes for houses, flats, farms, factories and offices.’
      • ‘Threshfield, it was said, consisted of 17 houses, four farms, a shop, a pub and a chapel.’
      • ‘We have jobs, shops, houses, farms, a church, schools.’
      • ‘It ranges across the industrial and domestic spectrum from factories and offices to the the farm or the home.’
      • ‘Village life revolved round the church, two farms and the local pub, the Old Bell Inn.’
      • ‘In all, the trust has some 300 private houses and cottages plus 90 farms in the Lake District, all of which are likely to need distinctive local stone for maintenance in the future.’
      • ‘You could build schools, farms, or factories that will provide for these people far into the future.’
      • ‘Like Winnie, the residents of the 16 houses and three farms on Castley Lane, Pool-in-Wharfedale, near Otley, would not choose to live anywhere else.’
      • ‘There has been a flurry of school trips, including London Zoo, farms, museums and galleries and lots of visiting theatre groups.’
      • ‘But these programmes were to be paid for by local taxpayers, taxed through the rates due on houses, farms, factories, and offices.’
    2. 1.2[with modifier] A place for breeding a particular type of animal or producing a specified crop:
      ‘a fish farm’
      • ‘He owns the largest Tilapia fish farm in the Philippines with 10 million fishes.’
      • ‘The decision to turn the site into a lavender farm and distillery is likely to be welcomed by locals who have long fought to ensure the land is put to good use.’
      • ‘Since that business where a woman's remains were dug up because her grandchildren ran a guinea pig farm, the Animal Rights mob have been persona non grata in our neck of the woods.’
      • ‘He grew up on a grape and citrus farm at Robinvale, on the Murray River in north-west Victoria.’
      • ‘At 1,500 acres, Hollesley Bay is the largest jail in the prison estate and has its own dairy herd, stud farm and arable crops.’
      • ‘The group has an option to buy a chicken farm where it wants to build a sophisticated textile factory.’
      • ‘So, she is just trying to build a better poultry farm with the help of the whole village.’
      • ‘The owners of a new stud farm on green belt land are being allowed to extend the buildings.’
      • ‘He owns the well-known breeding and stallion farm, Ballylinch Stud home of the legendary Tetrarch and part of the Mount Juliet Estate.’
      • ‘Dubbed the queen of science fiction, she lives next door in Dragonhold Underhill, her rolling stud farm.’
      • ‘She coordinates preventative medicine programs and pathology at Hagen's parrot breeding farm and research institute.’
      • ‘You could say that the farmers who run intensive poultry farms deserve criticism for not looking after animals properly.’
      • ‘But these people aren't, after all, poultry farm workers.’
      • ‘They said I broke into a nearby rabbit farm and slew about two dozen.’
      • ‘There's an ice rink, cinema, theatre, even a deer farm and a whisky museum.’
      • ‘My grandfather's horse farm contained all sorts of breeds.’
      • ‘It is the foremost fish breeding farm in Europe and they take so much care over the fish and the area.’
      • ‘I am sure there must be a few good/healthy salmon fish farms.’
      • ‘The country's 300 salmon farms produce 160,000 tonnes of fish a year.’
      • ‘Visiting the pig farm will bring grief and loss into sharp focus once again.’
      ranch, range
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    3. 1.3[with modifier] A place devoted to producing or promoting something:
      ‘an energy farm’
      • ‘At a Kurow dairy farm owned by Meridian Energy, this stray voltage was found to be around 1.5 volts.’
      • ‘Previous attempts by local entrepreneurs to establish broiler farms were foiled by dumping below cost from the large producers in South Africa.’
      • ‘Six years ago this hillside and the lowland beneath it was farmland grazed by the dairy herd that was part of Kilmeaden Cheese Factory's model farm.’
      • ‘Any company of their capitalization that can't manage to run a server farm successfully has serious internal management problems.’
      • ‘The 100-acre wind farm near Strabane is currently capable of producing 6.6 kilo watts of power per hour.’
      • ‘Ever anxious to learn more, the members changed tack and headed for Carne to visit the Wind Mill farm which was in total contrast to the experience in the Heritage Park.’
      • ‘We get our milk from 33 small dairy farms located in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.’
      • ‘I asked the people there about the large windmill farm east of the Crowsnest Pass in Southern Alberta.’
      • ‘On one hand the government takes on money from JBIC and on the other it is promoting the destructive prawn farm cultivation.’
      • ‘And he bought an organic dairy farm in Wales.’
      • ‘Besides the skydiving side of the business, the owner, 36, also runs an organic dairy farm.’
      • ‘Hundreds of objections to plans to build the wind farm have been made.’
      • ‘The welcoming committee is pure science fiction, a towering wind energy farm of sleek white windmills, five storeys high and filling the valley's entire widescreen width.’
      • ‘But those benefits disappear if the wind farms are owned by a utility.’
      • ‘At Suzhou City in the Jiangsu province, he visited a fresh water pearl farm and factor and said he was impressed with the techniques used by the Chinese farmers.’


  • 1[no object] Make one's living by growing crops or keeping livestock:

    ‘he has farmed organically for years’
    • ‘Wayne and Ruth are looking creatively for new ways to make farming viable in western North Carolina.’
    • ‘I am also aware that New Zealand has made its living by doing farming in a very functional and technologically targeted way.’
    • ‘He farmed in partnership with his father, and for a few years also with his older brother Eric.’
    • ‘There are still a lot of hungry farmers out there who want to make their living from farming.’
    • ‘A small coffee industry and subsistence farming counterbalance the poverty of the land reserves.’
    • ‘Under the new scheme individuals will be allowed to farm in partnership with their parents under a formal partnership arrangement.’
    • ‘We thought anyone who was making a living from farming was farming conventionally.’
    • ‘All that is consistent with the government's commitment to environmentally-friendly farming.’
    • ‘In the last year Jay has decided he might want to farm full-time.’
    • ‘For example, a century ago about 80 percent of the population worked the fields while today only a few percent pursue farming for a living.’
    • ‘In Belize, they are the poorest of the poor, most living by subsistence farming.’
    • ‘State-owned railways and state-funded irrigation schemes helped make farming viable on this far-flung frontier.’
    • ‘In fifty years time it appears there will be very few people in this county earning their living from farming on a full time basis.’
    • ‘He said he didn't go into art expecting a career and figured he would be earning a living from farming, gardening, or labouring.’
    • ‘Most people farmed for a living, and others took care of all necessary needs in the community.’
    • ‘Zambian vernacular architecture is integrated with nature in an agricultural society of subsistence farming.’
    • ‘He's farmed organically since 1983 and has been a certified organic grower since 1995.’
    • ‘Most Quechua rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood.’
    • ‘But then he farmed for a living as had his father and grandfather before him.’
    • ‘He is one of a dwindling number of farmers who depend sorely on farming for a living.’
    be a farmer, practise farming, cultivate the land, till the land, work the land, till the soil, rear livestock, do agricultural work
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    1. 1.1[with object] Use (land) for growing crops and rearing animals:
      ‘marshes are being drained in order to farm the land’
      • ‘The latest statistics showed that around one in six farmhouses in the region have been sold to people who had no intention of farming the land themselves.’
      • ‘But although peasants farmed all the land in 1800, they often owned less than half of it.’
      • ‘It is really a culture of farming where food and farming the land are the center of the celebration of human culture.’
      • ‘He farmed some land, growing much of what my mother served our family at dinner time.’
      • ‘They continued to farm the land but eventually that all stopped.’
      • ‘This was discussed at length and it was strongly felt that the person who rented or actively farmed the land should be the benefactor in future.’
      • ‘You can structure your conservation easement so that you may still build one or more houses, farm the land and hunt wild animals.’
      • ‘He also farmed the land and was well versed in many aspects of the farming scene.’
      • ‘People had been forced out of farming their land and got the ‘cheque in the post.’’
      • ‘Joyance missed the days when she and her husband and young son had farmed the land her house sat upon.’
      • ‘Many conventionally farmed soils around here barely have 1 to 2 percent organic matter.’
      • ‘Male workers all had to spend a certain number of days a year working on government projects, such as farming state-owned land.’
      • ‘To do this, you need to have been actively farming the land for a minimum of two years and to produce accounts to back this up.’
      • ‘Together she and her husband farmed the ranch land, and she bore seven children.’
      • ‘He resided just across the road from Burke's Shop where he farmed his land.’
      • ‘Bob farmed the land where the couple's home now stands.’
      • ‘Campaigners are also lobbying the government to increase the percentage of organically farmed land.’
      • ‘In 1903, one hundred years ago, most people in Ireland lived in the countryside, farmed the land, cultivated the food they ate and had very little extra money.’
      • ‘The land was farmed for years, then was changed for residential development.’
      • ‘Indians grew the sugar in the west and farmed their land with great quantities of artificial fertilizers.’
      cultivate, bring under cultivation, till, work, plough, dig, plant
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    2. 1.2[with object] Breed or grow (a type of livestock or crop) commercially:
      ‘ostriches are farmed in South Africa and Australia’
      ‘farmed salmon’
      • ‘The fish-farming industry was brought to its knees by some report saying that eating farmed salmon can kill you.’
      • ‘They have farmed their dairy herd at Gorsehill Abbey Farm for many years.’
      • ‘I can't be reassured that the liver in this isn't from intensively farmed animals.’
      • ‘Castor plants that are free of ricin and allergens could renew interest in farming this crop.’
      • ‘As someone who farms arable crops near Swindon, I am only too aware that farmers are struggling.’
      • ‘We deserve the grid we have - after all we value commercially farmed oysters over human life and comforts.’
      • ‘I rejoice in the sustainable food source that is farmed livestock.’
      • ‘In many cases households switch to farming crops that are less labour intensive, but these crops, the FAO notes, are often also less nutritious.’
      • ‘Farmers began to use a new system, the three-field system, to farm their crops.’
      • ‘Not only is the farmed salmon crop nutritionally inferior to its wild counterpart; it is also known to be a dangerous source of contamination of the marine environment.’
      • ‘These movement restrictions apply to all farmed livestock within that area.’
      • ‘Biodiverse farming involves simultaneously farming several crops.’
      • ‘Like all farmed livestock, salmon are regularly checked by veterinarians and occasionally require the use of licensed medicines.’
      • ‘Two of them were game farms and the rest were used to farm crops and livestock.’
      • ‘The grim reality is that the only way to save them is to farm them commercially.’
      • ‘Instead, family farming has remained prevalent because people have adjusted by farming different crops and combining agriculture with other ways of making a living.’
      • ‘Most salmon sold at supermarkets in the United States are farmed salmon, grown with feed derived from soybeans.’
      • ‘Drawing on his experience raising tilapia on fish farms in South America years ago, Warner embarked on an effort to farm the breed in big indoor tanks.’
      • ‘The scientists tracked the source of the pollutants to the fish meal fed to intensively farmed salmon.’
      grow, cultivate, raise, plant, tend, bring on, harvest
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  • 2farm someone/thing out[with object] Send out or subcontract work to others:

    ‘it saves time and money to farm out some writing work to specialized companies’
    • ‘In big companies, work is off-loaded to customers, or their problems are farmed out to call centers with productivity incentives designed to limit each call.’
    • ‘The lesser pieces are farmed out to their student accommodation.’
    • ‘Issues that threaten to create permanent obstacles are farmed out to commissions so they can be dealt with down the line.’
    • ‘Booking arrangements will be farmed out to private retail outlets, or passengers will be forced to use the Internet to make reservations.’
    • ‘Rather, they are automatically farmed out to subcontractors, who ship finished products directly to customers.’
    • ‘Professional crossword makers farm their puzzles out to experts for a test drive before they are published.’
    • ‘So he should immediately farm this whole record out to all kinds of good producers who could remix it entirely and try to make it better.’
    • ‘If every year a handful of issues were farmed out to assemblies like this one, one issue per assembly, it would be a job that could be done at a few hours a week.’
    • ‘Once operations are farmed out to a private investor, soon only the tracks and railbed will be publicly-owned, he said.’
    • ‘Spare ones will be farmed out to other universities which have expressed an interest in getting involved.’
    • ‘The deputy prime minister warned it was a mistake to think entire departments would be farmed out to the regions.’
    • ‘Full-time positions are being farmed out as contract work.’
    • ‘A lot of government services are farmed out to the private sector.’
    • ‘There is no technical reason why farming it out to private providers or mutuals cannot work.’
    • ‘Trained inmates can be farmed out to local businesses, providing a good service in return for on-the-job training.’
    • ‘Protection products and pensions feature strongly, while tax advice on more complex transactions tends to be farmed out to tax specialists.’
    • ‘All the component projects are farmed out across the country.’
    • ‘Many tasks have been farmed out to private, unaccountable contractors.’
    • ‘But if a company farms its work out to independent contractors, it can rid itself of costly expenses such as disability and social security taxes.’
    • ‘All too frequently major issues that need decisions are farmed out to outsiders to make reports.’
    contract out, outsource, assign to others, subcontract, delegate
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    1. 2.1 Arrange for a child to be looked after by someone, usually for payment:
      ‘the babies are farmed out for five years’
      • ‘Who, after all, would choose to work and farm their kids out in the morning if they could be in the same financial position while staying at home?’
      • ‘Whoever farmed me out for adoption put a lot of work into covering up everything about where - or who - I came from.’
      • ‘Her father's alcoholism plunged the family into poverty so humiliating that Dolly was farmed out to various generous strangers for upbringing.’
      have fostered, have cared for, send to a childminder, put in care
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    2. 2.2dated Send a sports player temporarily to another team in return for a fee:
      ‘he was farmed out in 1938 and '39 and came back for two games in 1940’
      • ‘So he was farmed out for a month with instructions to delay his swing a bit, go to right field more often, improve his bunting and reduce strikeouts.’
      • ‘He first played for York in the 1998 season when he was farmed out to Huntington Stadium on loan from Castleford.’
      • ‘The RFU, not the clubs, would employ players and farm them out to the clubs.’
      • ‘It looked even bleaker when Steve bought in six summer signings and he was farmed out to Sunderland on loan.’
  • 3historical [with object] Allow someone to collect and keep the revenues from (a tax) on payment of a fee:

    ‘the customs had been farmed to the collector for a fixed sum’
    • ‘The sum offered by Andocides and his associates was thirty-six talents, which (he claims) still allowed them a small profit in farming the tax.’
    • ‘The market was supervised by a warden and by the fifteenth century that officer was farming revenues due the city from the market.’


  • bet the farm

    • informal Risk everything that one owns on a bet, investment, or enterprise:

      ‘this isn't a great time to bet the farm on the Internet’
  • buy back the farm

    • informal Retrieve the capital assets of a country from foreign ownership:

      ‘a government guarantee that in some areas we will buy back the farm’
  • buy the farm

    • informal Die.

      pass away, pass on, lose one's life, depart this life, expire, breathe one's last, draw one's last breath, meet one's end, meet one's death, lay down one's life, be no more, perish, be lost, go the way of the flesh, go the way of all flesh, go to glory, go to one's last resting place, go to meet one's maker, cross the great divide, cross the styx
      View synonyms
  • from farm to fork (or table)

    • 1Used to refer to the various processes in the food chain from agricultural production to consumption:

      ‘a catering industry initiative that allows certified traceability of fresh meat and eggs from farm to fork’
      [as modifier] ‘each of these countries has farm-to-fork legislation’
      • ‘According to the company, it controls the temperature of food products "from farm to fork".’
      • ‘Everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system has a responsibility to reduce risk.’
      • ‘Unless far-reaching measures are taken to address consumer concerns 'from farm to fork', the crisis will only deepen.’
      • ‘These include the food production and processing operations that occur from farm to table.’
      • ‘Miss Mills said she was glad the report had brought to the public's attention 'the systematic failures from farm to fork'.’
      • ‘To meet these requirements companies need to be able to trace their products through every stage from farm to fork.’
      • ‘It helps to ensure that food is safe, from farm to fork.’
      • ‘But from farm to table, the industry could well lose a quarter of a billion dollars.’
      • ‘Commissioner Byrne refers to the feed hygiene package as "the missing link" in the farm-to-fork approach to food safety.’
      • ‘The North Central Initiative for Small Farm Profitability, a regional project based at NU's Center for Applied Rural Innovation, is a four-state, multi-institutional, farm-to-fork initiative.’
      1. 1.1US Used to refer to locally grown or produced food:
        [as modifier] ‘in San Francisco, farm-to-fork eating is a year-round affair’
        • ‘Working toward the farm-to-fork ideal of its famous Westchester neighbor, the kitchen uses seasonal local products in many of its dishes.’
        • ‘Organic food is grown without the use of artificial herbicides or pesticides while "farm-to-fork" food is grown locally.’
        • ‘"We're still working on procuring more organic and farm-to-fork food."’
        • ‘To demonstrate its commitment to buying locally, Gibbet Hill Grill last summer held a "Farm-to-Fork Dinner," during which everything on the five-course menu came from within 100 miles, including a tasting of tomatoes from Verrill Farm.’
        • ‘In the October issue of Gourmet magazine, it is recognized as one of America's best farm-to-table restaurants.’
        • ‘The restaurant is trying to be able to obtain more organic and farm-to-fork produce.’
        • ‘Although promoting healthy, farm-to-table food is becoming a trend in schools, it still isn't widespread, she said.’
        • ‘Dishes are served in trios of tastes; entrees like poached cod on polenta johnnycake, with cod cakes and cod and clam chowder, maintain a farm-to-table sensibility.’
        • ‘Here, farm-to-table cuisine is not a cliche but a high art.’
  • sell off the farm

    • informal Sell the capital assets of a country to foreign interests:

      ‘the government is happy to keep selling off the farm’
      • ‘Critics within the oil industry say that the government is selling the farm, and that it should have confined the international oil companies to oilfields which had been discovered but not developed.’
      • ‘Not selling off the farm seems a good idea for maximizing national independence.’
      • ‘There is, however, growing disquiet in the community about what many see as selling off the farm.’
      • ‘The union is calling for appropriate levels of funding for the Service rather than selling off the farm for so-called short-term financial relief.’
      • ‘"We are selling off the farm and pretty soon there won't be any farm left," he said.’


Middle English: from Old French ferme, from medieval Latin firma fixed payment, from Latin firmare fix, settle (in medieval Latin contract for), from firmus constant, firm; compare with firm. The noun originally denoted a fixed annual amount payable as rent or tax; this is reflected in farm, which later gave rise to ‘to subcontract’( farm). The noun came to denote a lease, and, in the early 16th century, land leased for farming. The verb sense ‘grow crops or keep livestock’ dates from the early 19th century.