Main definitions of firm in English

: firm1firm2

firm1

adjective

  • 1Having a solid, almost unyielding surface or structure:

    ‘the bed should be reasonably firm, but not too hard’
    • ‘‘I stepped on what I thought was firm ground and I sank until my ankles,’ she said.’
    • ‘Her right fist appeared to have connected with something distinctly firm and solid.’
    • ‘The advocates of summer rugby will have loved it as the firm ground underfoot encouraged the two teams to play some terrific expansive rugby.’
    • ‘When you are cruising your local bazaar, make sure to only buy fruits that are bright red, shiny, and firm with no mould in sight.’
    • ‘Rob shivered a little, cold and uncomfortable lying on the firm, hard ground.’
    • ‘Also, it is normal to feel the epididymis - a small, firm, tube-like structure at the back of the testicle.’
    • ‘I don't think the ground will make any difference to him, although he may not run if the ground comes up too firm.’
    • ‘A ball point pen and a firm writing surface should be used to assure clarity and legibility.’
    • ‘It has some obvious advantages, apart from the pleasure of running around on firm ground under the summer sun.’
    • ‘Snow ramps led upwards through the maze of rocks, the surface surprisingly firm and consistent, allowing us to kick steps and chop holds with our axes.’
    • ‘We'd really like separate paths for riders, with a firm all-weather surface, but that would be expensive.’
    • ‘They maintain the route would have to be repaired anyway, whether it were upgraded or not, and the ground is firm enough to withstand use by horses and cyclists.’
    • ‘We've had four or five days of good weather so the ground is firm.’
    • ‘Then she jumped up and down upon the nice firm mattress like a trampoline.’
    • ‘The firm ground did not help as far as the size of the fields was concerned and the races contained fewer runners than we have come to expect at Punchestown.’
    • ‘White has shown his cards in the selection of a team and a bench that is tailored for a hard, firm ground and dry conditions.’
    • ‘In section the tumour tissue was firm and the cut surface of the growth was evenly white and had small cysts in it.’
    • ‘Obtain a stable chair with a firm seat cushion and back, and a footstool to elevate your leg’
    hard, solid, unyielding, resistant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Solidly in place and stable:
      ‘no building can stand without firm foundations’
      figurative ‘he was unable to establish the shop on a firm financial footing’
      • ‘These results will provide students with a firm foundation to pursue further studies or to enter the world of work.’
      • ‘For all their adventure, their successes this season have been built on firm foundations.’
      • ‘However, it had a firm foundation of trust on which to build, as recent surveys had shown that most people trusted their GP or nurse.’
      • ‘This goes a huge way towards putting the project on a firm financial footing (no pun intended) and turning it into a reality.’
      • ‘That is a firm foundation for taking a case before the court.’
      • ‘Hopefully they will continue to build on this firm foundation.’
      • ‘Goldberg is confident that the center is on firm financial footing as it prepares to celebrate the coming anniversary.’
      • ‘They can see the firm foundations being laid at Elland Road.’
      • ‘Coun Francis wished the clerk well and he praised him for putting the council on a firm financial footing.’
      • ‘Our studies provide a firm foundation to investigate this intriguing notion.’
      secure, secured, stable, steady, strong, sturdy, fixed, fast, set, taut, established, tight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Having steady but not excessive power or strength:
      ‘you need a firm grip on the steering’
      • ‘He took my hand with a firm grip and, bringing his face right up close to mine, stared me straight in the eyes for several seconds, as though drinking in every detail of my face.’
      • ‘Katherine was again conscious of his strength through the firm grip he took of her hand.’
      • ‘When it was his time to take the oath, he signed the book, then went on to chat animatedly to the Speaker, who grasped his hand, held it in a firm grip, and shook it five times.’
      • ‘After making sure you have a firm grip on the outward line, you should cut it as close to your body as possible.’
      • ‘He started on the dishes again, making sure he kept a firm grip on every dish.’
      • ‘He kept a firm grip on her to make sure she was alright, but pulled something out of his pocket.’
      • ‘She danced next to him for a song; he kept a firm grip on her wrist to make sure she didn't slip away into the crowd.’
      • ‘A large hand caught her arm in a firm grip and steadied her, tugging so that she could sit up properly.’
      • ‘I then proceeded to let out a few feet of tape and make sure I had a firm grip on it.’
      • ‘Retain a firm grip on it when you power it up and you will get the hang of it after a few passes.’
      strong, vigorous, sturdy, robust, forceful
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Showing resolute determination and strength of character:
      ‘parents should be firm with children and not give in to their demands’
      • ‘We, the lesser fry, may enjoy the luxury of shaking and red eyes but we expect the man at the top to be firm, unfaltering and resolute.’
      • ‘To the contrary, be as firm with yourself as you would be with a subordinate who promised to do something by a certain time or date.’
      • ‘However, he did still have to be firm with the girl, otherwise she would transgress.’
      • ‘Sometimes, you have to be firm with minions or they won't stop bugging you, he thought.’
      • ‘You need to be firm with some consistent training to help gain the upper hand.’
      • ‘Her voice sounded kind and caring, even though she sounded firm with Chad about Sean getting his rest.’
      • ‘He was resolute, firm and unbending in his position toward Nazi Germany's aggression.’
      • ‘It is important to be firm, resolute and committed to get through the first stage.’
      • ‘Kingston is a warm and encouraging older man, firm with the students but gentle and kind.’
      • ‘Raising her head high, Julia decides to toughen herself and be firm with Cassie.’
      • ‘Had the government acted in time with a firm determination, the calamity would have been averted?’
      • ‘He kept on marching ahead with equipoise and firm determination.’
      • ‘Having taken our decision, this country will now pursue our aims with firm resolve and with determination.’
      • ‘Not to say that there wasn't debate, but the conclusion was always the same: a firm resolution to do nothing.’
      • ‘Ariane's eyes looked over to Frayne who had yet to speak, he stood firm with his arms crossed.’
      • ‘Enforce the rules fairly every time. Be gentle but firm with your child even when the child wants to break a rule.’
      resolute, determined, decided, resolved, steadfast
      View synonyms
  • 2Strongly felt and unlikely to change:

    ‘he retains a firm belief in the efficacy of prayer’
    • ‘They were resilient people with strong faith and a firm belief in providence.’
    • ‘A strong law and order platform must be tempered by a firm belief in rehabilitation.’
    • ‘The Committee was equally firm in its belief that the existing arrangements were imperfect.’
    • ‘However, a handful of firm favourites have kept their place on the final menu including good old fish and chips and freshly-prepared burgers.’
    • ‘The La Touche Cup, over the hills and banks course, is worth 25,000 in its own right and is always a firm favourite with racing fans.’
    • ‘They were industrious by nature with a strong work ethic and a firm belief in self-sufficiency.’
    • ‘The story alone, a firm favourite with children the world over, transports the reader into a magical universe with a delightful mixed up language all of its own.’
    • ‘Ballon Computer Training Centre courses have become a firm favourite with many students returning for follow on courses.’
    • ‘We were strong, we were firm in our faith but we were not part of the mainstream of society.’
    • ‘If home ‘advantage’ has any credibility, then Shannon must be firm favourites.’
    • ‘A lovely decent gentleman, Johnny was highly thought of by all who knew him and he was a firm favourite in the Milltown and Ballindine area.’
    • ‘He is committed to a firm belief, based on his strong religious faith, that he will be healed.’
    • ‘Russell had a strong conscience and held firm beliefs.’
    • ‘First, the United States made a firm commitment to protect and defend Europe.’
    • ‘Yet, we must be strong in our firm belief that every human heart desires to be free.’
    • ‘The community came away from the service stronger and with a firm desire to form a community movement or organisation.’
    1. 2.1 Steadfast and constant:
      ‘we became firm friends’
      • ‘The two became firm friends and were close collaborators on medical topics for many years.’
      • ‘It was there that he met Tom, now aged 18, and the two become firm friends.’
      • ‘During a break in proceedings, she told the Yorkshire Post how she came to be an adviser on the show and firm friends with its star.’
      • ‘Constance was a firm believer that things have a way of working themselves out.’
      • ‘He saw through some lucrative deals for his players/clients, and became firm friends with many of them.’
      • ‘The two became firm friends, with Zazu learning an impressive vocabulary during their time together.’
      close, good, boon, intimate, confidential, inseparable, dear, special, fast, valued, treasured, cherished
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Decided upon and fixed or definite:
      ‘she had no firm plans for the next day’
      • ‘In addition to Trinity Academy, firm plans already exist for another seven academies across Yorkshire including two in Bradford.’
      • ‘As a minimum, we get a firm definition of the kind of equipment needed for the job and how long it will be needed for that job.’
      • ‘Take our advice - just don't make any firm plans for June.’
      • ‘The Crawford Court did not provide a firm definition of the meaning of testimonial.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, we can't offer a firm definition of what constitutes a high number of features.’
      • ‘‘At the moment we are going on as if it is still going ahead but we are planning to make a firm decision in June,’ she said.’
      • ‘But transgression, by definition, requires a firm set of rules.’
      • ‘So, actually I could almost prove that anyone that gives you a firm answer is by definition wrong.’
      definite, fixed, settled, decided, established, confirmed, agreed, exact, clear-cut, concrete, hard and fast
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 (of a currency, shares, etc.) having a steady value or price which is more likely to rise than fall:
      ‘the pound was firm against the dollar’
      • ‘Brokers said they expect share prices to stay firm next week, supported by the planned establishment of new investment trusts.’
      • ‘While many commodity markets have been very much on the firm side, the grain and oilseed complex have been weak.’
      • ‘In the age of globalization, capital flows brought in by a firm currency can be more important than the increased trade afforded by a softer one.’
      • ‘That the share price has held firm indicates the market believes the company will get control of the group eventually, analysts say.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Make more solid or resilient:

    ‘how can I firm up a sagging bustline?’
    • ‘The Skin Firming Moisturiser with seaweed extract and caffeine promises to firm up flabby flesh and reduce the appearance of cellulite.’
    • ‘But I rather like my body image, and I reckon I would be sorted if I just got a hula hoop to firm up my stomach muscles.’
    • ‘By working all heads of the triceps, you can firm up the backs of your arms and develop a gorgeous contour, Roberts says.’
    1. 1.1 Fix (a plant) securely in the soil:
      ‘don't tread around bushes to firm them’
      • ‘Fork over the soil in the area they are to be replanted and put the bulbs back into the earth straight away, firming the soil to get rid of any air pockets.’
      • ‘In November, when leaves are down, plant seeds 3 inches apart and firm the soil over them.’
      • ‘Plant the plants just as you would outdoors, by digging a hole and then firming the soil around the roots.’
      • ‘Then, a second skewer comes in handy for gently firming the soil to help the seedling stand up until the roots take hold.’
      • ‘When the transplants go in the ground the soil is firmed around the roots and then the ground is soaked so that the water will further put roots in contact with soil.’
      • ‘She firms up the soil around the jug and makes sure the holes she cut in it are above the soil line so the birds have an easy entrance and exit.’
      • ‘Add enough soil to fill the pot, firming the soil gently around the bulbs being careful not to bruise them.’
      • ‘Wheel tracks are quite visible where they have firmed the soil in a stand of winter what planted in a poor, loose seedbed.’
      • ‘She mounded the soil so the center of the bed was the highest point and firmed the soil by tamping it down with her feet to prevent it from flattening over time.’
      • ‘Set a plant in each hole and firm the soil over the rootball and around its stem to support it.’
      • ‘The ground has been leveled and they are firming the soil.’
      • ‘Now cover it up with some fine soil and gently firm the soil with your foot or the flat side of your hoe blade.’
      • ‘Fill in around root balls with additional soil; firm the soil with your hands, then water.’
      • ‘Backfill the hole halfway with 3 or 4 inches of soil at a time, firming it with your foot.’
      • ‘The soil should preferably be firmed so that it most readily absorbs day heat to depth and reradiates it continuously through the night.’
      • ‘With just a little bit of simple joinery one could make a Shaker-style wooden seed box to replace the modern plastic version, and a soil tamper to firm the compost.’
    2. 1.2 Make (an agreement or plan) explicit and definite:
      ‘the agreements still have to be firmed up’
      • ‘The investment, equity structure and timeframe for the project is yet to be firmed up, he said, adding Tehran has shown keen interest in the project.’
      • ‘Preliminary talks on possible sites have taken place between Leeds United and the city council at the highest level and will continue as plans are firmed up.’
      • ‘There is a public beta test planned for late spring/early summer but the exact dates have not been firmed up.’
      • ‘And although the cornerstone was laid amid Independence Day fanfare, the design still has yet to be firmed up.’
      • ‘According to the company, plans in this regard would be firmed up by mid-2005.’
      • ‘Bank of America has firmed up plans to set up a captive BPO outfit in Hyderabad, which will begin operations next month.’
      • ‘The discussion had ended with the promise that David would phone and let them know when his plans for leaving were firmed up.’
      • ‘Tata Steel has firmed up its plan to set up chrome producing plant in South Africa with an investment of over Rs 250 crore as part of company's strategy to increase its global presence in steel and minerals.’
      • ‘Atria Group, which already operates a 170 room property, has firmed up plans for a 100-120 room hotel in Whitefield, which houses the International Tech Park.’
      • ‘Sources said the individual entrepreneurs involved have signed a confidentiality agreement which does not allow any of them to go public on the group's plans until schedules are firmed up.’
      • ‘‘The completion date has not yet been firmed up, but if they can't start this fall, then it should be next spring,’ says Matwie.’
      • ‘Since then, the market for technology stocks has cooled and the company has not firmed up its flotation plans.’
      • ‘Mr Rajan said this is due to general slowdown in employment trends across the country in the backdrop of financial year-end and also because hiring plans have not yet being firmed up by the companies.’
      • ‘We note however that subsequently the October announcement was firmed up into a real, live agreement.’
      • ‘Details of the next feast of rugby are still being firmed up, but we can reveal the event will be held in Sydney on April 22, 2004.’
      • ‘Once the staging agreement is firmed up, Headingley's future will be assured and the indications are that the ground will be under Yorkshire's control by the end of June at the latest.’
      • ‘Once I had firmed up my plans, the real work started: data entry.’
      • ‘Bali Hai point was suggested as the welcoming area and plans need to be firmed up as to the decorations and formalities.’
    3. 1.3[no object] (of a price) rise slightly to reach a level considered secure:
      ‘he believed house prices would firm by the end of the year’
      [with complement] ‘the shares firmed 15p to 620p’
      • ‘Minister Walsh said butter prices have firmed throughout the EU and in Ireland due in part to the overall fall in milk deliveries in the EU and the attraction of cheese, which has also diverted milk away from butter.’
      • ‘Forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation predict prices will firm in most major commodities.’
      • ‘Economist Ben Simpendorfer added: " We are seeing a sustained reflationary trend; the old news is that retail prices are firming.’
      • ‘All this takeover froth provides support for the company's share, which has firmed since he unveiled his yellow pack initiative.’
      • ‘Dutch shares firmed early on Thursday after the firm announced it was maintaining its dividend for the year contradicting earlier forecasts by analysts who had forecast the first dividend cut in over 20 years.’
      • ‘Carphone provided a positive update at the end of September which has helped the shares to firm 15%.’
      • ‘Now, margins have been compressed by pricing pressures, and industry analysts and executives don't see prices firming anytime soon.’
      • ‘Agricultural conditions improved as well: crop and cattle prices firmed and weather conditions improved.’

adverb

  • In a resolute and determined manner:

    ‘the Chancellor has held firm to tough economic policies’
    ‘she will stand firm against the government's proposal’
    • ‘We must stand firm and not bend under the social pressures and norms that surround us.’
    • ‘They set themselves in opposition to Hitler and were determined to stand firm no matter what the cost.’
    • ‘The prescription for this dilemma is for contracting offices to stand firm and not take on this type of assignment.’
    • ‘Reds tried to break down the defence for the final 10 minutes but YM held firm and fully deserved their points.’
    • ‘They were threatened with expulsion by the remaining nations, but held firm and now have all their home games shown live on television.’
    • ‘Redditch were causing the odd moment of consternation in the City defence but Wilson's men held firm and never looked in real danger of conceding.’
    • ‘He also knows that if you are prepared to stand firm and brazenly insist that you have always acted in good faith and done what you think is right, you can hope to con your way out of it.’

Phrases

  • be on firm ground

    • Be sure of one's facts or secure in one's position.

      • ‘Since the second she'd woken up, it had never seemed to her as if she was on firm ground; she hadn't really believed she would be staying anywhere for long.’
      • ‘Here, at least, he was on firm ground, for he had pondered this matter for months.’
      • ‘I don't think he ever forgave me for not being more of a Charles Olson fan (Olson was his all-time favorite), but otherwise we were on firm ground.’
      • ‘Your Honour may be on firm ground, but wise or not Parliament is entitled to try - and it may not succeed, but guaranteed success is not a criterion of constitutional validity.’
      • ‘With some of the best known players in the World patronising the league and an assembly of top Industrial names as sponsors, J-league is on firm ground.’
      • ‘If this were true, that is, if these were the only or even the most important reasons that people fear death, Epicurus might be on firm ground.’
      • ‘As this is the simple truth - that to live is to feel oneself lost - he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground.’
      • ‘As our local MP is both a medical practitioner and the Federal Minister for Education, we felt we were on firm ground.’
      • ‘Dealing with the grandson of his benefactor, my father was on firm ground in being able to reciprocate the kindness which had signalled acceptance and belonging.’
      • ‘After that shaky start, Sharp is on firm ground, with a solid discussion of 8 tactical ploys, ranging from the common self-standoff to the impossibly rare Pandin's paradox.’
  • a firm hand

    • Strict discipline or control:

      ‘children need a firm hand from day one’
      • ‘Therefore, the candidate must have a firm hand in controlling every single event that could be construed to help his campaign.’
      • ‘You control your businesses with a firm hand that is neither cruel nor too soft.’
      • ‘We must establish order with a firm hand, first, before disorder and chaos become the norm.’
      • ‘The cinematography is strong, the acting good, and the director has a firm hand on all aspects of this film.’
      • ‘He certainly took a firm hand now, enforcing strict discipline and enjoining severe punishments for those who shirked their duties or who tried to go home again.’
      • ‘Still, a horse was a horse, and Seth had to control Storm with a firm hand.’
      • ‘Generals always need to be controlled with a firm hand.’
      • ‘He just needs more human contact and a firm hand and he would make a lovely pet for somebody.’
      • ‘Natural calamities were handled with competence, communal peace was ensured and law and order was maintained with a firm hand.’
      • ‘For these people, strict guidelines and a firm hand guide them in the right direction.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French ferme, from Latin firmus.

Pronunciation:

firm

/fəːm/

Main definitions of firm in English

: firm1firm2

firm2

noun

  • 1A business concern, especially one involving a partnership of two or more people:

    ‘state support for small firms’
    [as modifier] ‘a law firm’
    • ‘In the property manager's office, Paul and I met with the law firm's office manager and real estate agent.’
    • ‘The company is a full service law firm which acts primarily for business clients.’
    • ‘Like your business, law firms are owned and operated by a set of partners.’
    • ‘The same costs potentially face publishing firms and broadcasting companies every time they decide to fight a complex libel case.’
    • ‘But he doubts the law firm would reclassify those employees and take away their overtime pay.’
    • ‘Should partners in law and accounting firms be entitled to sue if they face age, race, or sex discrimination?’
    • ‘All of the foreign companies are partnered with local Taiwanese firms.’
    • ‘In many cases, students hired by public accounting firms come from families with a culture of business.’
    • ‘Big law firms were the place to find the right lawyer, because big law firms were a one-stop shop.’
    • ‘There is often a cultural disconnect when big law firms meet small businesses.’
    • ‘These would be analogous to the kind of contracts that venture-capital firms draw up for the management of young companies.’
    • ‘Also beleaguered are trucking companies, chemical concerns, and construction firms.’
    • ‘She admits that it is easier for her to go into partnership with big firms now that she has established her reputation.’
    • ‘Lawyers sit on the boards of companies with which their firms do business.’
    • ‘Now, the smaller firms are fighting back by picking up laid-off bankers from big firms or entering partnerships.’
    • ‘It is rare for a biotechnology firm to establish its business in a an existing property.’
    • ‘With ratios in some accountancy firms of one partner to 20 employees, trying to make the grade may seem like mission impossible.’
    • ‘I'm a junior partner at a law firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions.’
    • ‘Union members are demanding shorter working hours and the government's retraction of its plan to privatize the public firms, which they fear will lead to massive layoffs.’
    • ‘Most of the larger retailers subcontract firms to do this.’
    company, business, concern, enterprise, venture, undertaking, house, establishment, organization, corporation, conglomerate, franchise, cooperative, office, bureau, service, agency, practice, partnership, consortium, syndicate
    outfit, set-up, shop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A group of hospital doctors working as a team, headed by a consultant.
    2. 1.2British informal An organized group of football supporters known for their aggressive attitudes towards rival fans.

Origin

Late 16th century: from Spanish and Italian firma, from medieval Latin, from Latin firmare fix, settle (in late Latin confirm by signature), from firmus firm; compare with farm. The word originally denoted one's autograph or signature; later (mid 18th century) the name under which the business of a firm was transacted, hence the firm itself (late 18th century).

Pronunciation:

firm

/fəːm/