American English

Definition of firm adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (firmer, firmest)
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  1. 1fairly hard; not easy to press into a different shape a firm bed/mattress These peaches are still firm. It was good to feel the firm ground underfoot after hours of trudging through flooded fields. Bake the cakes until they are firm to the touch.
  2. 2not likely to change a firm believer in free enterprise a firm agreement/date/decision/offer/promise firm beliefs/conclusions/convictions/principles We have no firm evidence to support the case. They remained firm friends.
  3. 3strongly fixed in place synonym secure Stand the fish tank on a firm base. No building can stand without firm foundations, and neither can a marriage.
  4. 4(of someone's voice or hand movements) strong and steady “No,” she repeated, her voice firmer this time. With a firm grip on my hand, he pulled me away. She took a firm hold of my arm. Her handshake was cool and firm.
  5. 5(of someone's behavior, position, or understanding of something) strong and in control to exercise firm control/discipline/leadership Parents must be firm with their children. The company now has a firm footing in the marketplace. This book will give your students a firm grasp ofEnglish grammar. We need to keep a firm grip on the situation.
  6. 6[usually before noun] firm (against something) (of a country's money, etc.) not lower than another The dollar remained firm against the pound, but fell against the yen. see also firmly
    noun [uncountable]
  8. Idioms
    be on firm ground
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    to be in a strong position in an argument, etc. because you know the facts Everyone agreed with me, so I knew I was on firm ground.
    a firm hand
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    strong control or discipline Those children need a firm hand to make them behave.
    take a firm stand (on/against something)
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    to make your beliefs known and to try to make others follow them They took a firm stand against drugs in the school.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: firm