Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: Latin firmus


2 adjective
firm2 S2 W2
1 not completely hard, but not soft, and not easy to bend into a different shape:
The sofa cushions are fairly firm.
a firm green apple
Most doctors recommend sleeping on a firm mattress.
2 strongly fixed in position, and not likely to move [= secure]:
Make sure the ladder feels firm before you climb up.
A concrete foundation was poured after digging down to firm ground.
Mount the tanks side by side on a firm base.
3 not likely to change
firm conviction/commitment/belief etc
Our client hasn't reached a firm decision on the matter yet.
Blackpool remains a firm favourite with holiday makers from Northern Ireland.
Corey was always a firm believer in prayer.
They made a firm offer (=offered to pay a particular amount) on the house over the weekend.
Diana and Laura have been firm friends (=close friends) since their early teens.
4 showing in the way that you behave or speak that you are the person in control and that you are not likely to change your answer, belief etc:
Cal replied with a polite but firm 'no'.
What this country needs is firm leadership.
be firm with somebody
You need to be firm with her or she'll try to take advantage of you.


a firm grip/hold/grasp etc

if you have something in a firm grip etc, you are holding it tightly and strongly:
He took a firm grip of my arm and marched me towards the door.
a firm handshake

take a firm stand/line

to state your opinion clearly and not be persuaded to change it

stand/hold firm

to not change your actions or opinions
stand/hold firm against
Jones is urging Christians to stand firm against abortion.

firm hand

a strict way of dealing with someone:
These children need a firm hand.


PEC [not before noun] if the value of a particular country's money is firm, it does not fall in value
firm against
The pound is still firm against the dollar.
firmly adverb
firmness noun [uncountable]
hard and not bending: solid, firm, stiff, rigid

meat that is too hard: tough

skin that is old and hard: leathery, calloused

hard and easily broken: brittle

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