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Related to firmness: firmness of purpose

firm 1

adj. firm·er, firm·est
1. Resistant to externally applied pressure.
2. Marked by or indicating the tone and resiliency of healthy tissue: firm muscles.
3. Securely fixed in place: Despite being hit by the car, the post was still firm.
4. Indicating or possessed of determination or resolution: a firm voice.
5. Constant; steadfast: a firm ally.
a. Not subject to change; fixed and definite: a firm bargain; a firm offer.
b. Unfluctuating; steady: Stock prices are still firm.
7. Strong and sure: a firm grasp.
tr. & intr.v. firmed, firm·ing, firms
To make or become firm. Often used with up.
adv. firmer, firmest
Without wavering; resolutely: stand firm.

[Middle English ferm, from Old French, from Latin firmus; see dher- in Indo-European roots.]

firm′ly adv.
firm′ness n.

firm 2

1. A business enterprise.
2. An unincorporated business, particularly a partnership.
3. The name or designation under which a company transacts business.

[Italian firma, from firmare, to ratify by signature, from Medieval Latin firmāre, from Latin, to confirm, from firmus, firm; see dher- in Indo-European roots.]




  1. (Bread …) as hard as pumice —Mary Stewart
  2. Be like a rocky head and on which the waves break incessantly, but it stands fast and the waters sink to rest —Marcus Aurelius
  3. (Continue) firm and unmoved as a column —James Boswell
  4. Firm as alabaster —Henry James
  5. Firm as a monkey’s tail —Creole expression

    Before Jean Claude Duvalier’s Haitian regime toppled in 1983, he was quoted as saying, “I’m in control … firm as a monkey’s tail.”

  6. [Figure] firm as an apple —H. E. Bates
  7. (My heart is) firm as a stone —The Holy Bible/Job
  8. Firm as morality —Thorn Gunn
  9. [A distant ridge] firm as solid crystal —William Wordsworth
  10. Firm standing like a stone wall —Bernard Bee

    The term “To stonewall” comes from Bee’s simile about Jackson at first battle of Bull Run.

  11. Hard and dry as rustling corn —Dame Edith Sitwell
  12. [A trained gangster] hard and solid, like a shark —John Malcolm
  13. Hard as a billiard ball —Anon
  14. (Soil) hard as a bowling alley —E. B. White
  15. Hard as a bulletproof vest —Russell Baker, New York Times, May 21, 1986

    To put this in full context: “Americans like their fish, and fish roe too, fried hard as a bulletproof vest.”

  16. Hard as a heavy-duty canvas fire-hose —Sharon Olds

    In the poem from which this is taken, Six-Year-Old Boy, the fire-hose is used to describe a small boy waking up to urinate.

  17. Hard as an egg at Easter —Michael Denham
  18. (His body thin and stringy but) hard as armor plating —Clive Cussler
  19. Hard as a stone pillow —Anon

    Back in the T’ang Dynasty chen or ceramic pillows were used during as well as after life as a means for keeping the eyes clear and preserving sight.

  20. (The wheel of your life is … as) hard as caked clay which nothing can grow in —Amy Lowell
  21. (Words as) hard as cannon-balls —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  22. Hard as corkwood —Miguel de Cervantes
  23. (Felt as) hard as dried mud —James Crumley

    The descriptive frame of reference is the face of a man who’s been beaten up.

  24. (Her breasts were small but looked) hard as green apples —Anon
  25. Hard as the knots in a whip —Yehuda Amichai
  26. Hard as nails —Charles Dickens

    This now commonplace simile may well precede its appearance in Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Other writers who’ve used it since have modified and extended it, e.g.: “Hard and sharp as nails,” attributed to S. J. Weyman and “Hard as nails and sour as vinegar,” attributed to George Beillairs.

  27. Hardened and set like concrete —Karl Shapiro
  28. My ass … was tight as a bull’s in a thunderstorm —Lael Tucker Wertenbaker
  29. (His jaw was) rigid as a horseshoe —Flannery O’Connor
  30. Rigid as a starfish —Joyce Cary
  31. Rigid as bamboo —Diane Ackerman
  32. Rigid as iron post —Marge Piercy
  33. (He went as) rigid as Lenin’s mummy —Joseph Wambaugh
  34. Rigid as though bound and gagged —Eudora Welty
  35. She’s hard as steel —William Shakespeare
  36. (Heat) solid as a hickory stick —Eudora Welty
  37. Solid as a hill —William Boyd
  38. Stand firm as a tower, which never shakes its top, no matter what winds are blowing —Dante Alighieri
  39. Stiff as a garden hose left out in December —Will Weaver

    In Weaver’s novel, Red Earth, White Earth, the comparison is used to describe the physical condition of a man who’s had a stroke.

  40. (His head,) stiff as a scarab —Theodore Roethke
  41. Stiff as chessmen —Elizabeth Bowen
  42. Stiff as icicles —Anon
  43. Stiff as sticks —Dan Jacobson
  44. [Bed sheet] stretched tight as a drumhead —Walker Percy
  45. (Backside) sturdy as baking soda biscuits —Curtis White
  46. Taut as a sail —Barbara Howes
  47. Taut as a tent —Karl Shapiro
  48. (Neck tendons) taut as banjo strings —Derek Walcott
  49. Tight as a scout’s knot —Lorrie Moore
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.firmness - the muscle tone of healthy tissue; "his muscular firmness"
strength - the property of being physically or mentally strong; "fatigue sapped his strength"
2.firmness - the trait of being resolutefirmness - the trait of being resolute; "his resoluteness carried him through the battle"; "it was his unshakeable resolution to finish the work"
trait - a distinguishing feature of your personal nature
self-command, self-possession, will power, willpower, self-will, self-control, possession - the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior
steadiness - freedom from wavering or indecision; constancy of resolve or conduct; "He trusted her clear steadiness that she would do what she said"
sturdiness - resoluteness evidenced by strength of character; "sturdiness of moral principle"
stiffness - firm resoluteness in purpose or opinion or action; "a charming host without any touch of stiffness or pomposity"
bullheadedness, pigheadedness, self-will, stubbornness, obstinacy, obstinance - resolute adherence to your own ideas or desires
single-mindedness - characterized by one unified purpose
adamance, obduracy, unyieldingness - resoluteness by virtue of being unyielding and inflexible
decisiveness, decision - the trait of resoluteness as evidenced by firmness of character or purpose; "a man of unusual decisiveness"
determination, purpose - the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose; "his determination showed in his every movement"; "he is a man of purpose"
steadfastness - steadfast resolution
3.firmness - the property of being unyielding to the touch
hardness - the property of being rigid and resistant to pressure; not easily scratched; measured on Mohs scale
4.firmness - the quality of being steady or securely and immovably fixed in place
immovability, immovableness - not capable of being moved or rearranged
granite - something having the quality of granite (unyielding firmness); "a man of granite"
sureness - the quality of being steady and unfailing; "sureness of hand"
stability, stableness - the quality or attribute of being firm and steadfast


2. steadiness, tension, stability, tightness, soundness, tautness, tensile strength, immovability testing the firmness of the nearest stakes
3. strength, tightness, steadiness He was surprised at the firmness of her grip.
4. resolve, resolution, constancy, inflexibility, steadfastness, obduracy, strictness, strength of will, fixity, fixedness, staunchness There was no denying his considerable firmness of purpose


1. Reliability in withstanding pressure, force, or stress:
3. The condition of being free from defects or flaws:


[ˈfɜːmnɪs] N
1. (= hardness) [of mattress, muscles, thighs] → dureza f
2. (= tightness) [of grip] → fuerza f
3. (= determination) → firmeza f
firmness of character/purposefirmeza f de carácter/propósito
4. (= severity) → firmeza f, mano f dura


(= solidity, of mattress, pillow, fruit, foundation etc) → Festigkeit f; (of stomach, thighs)Straffheit f
(= strength: of hold, grip, handshake) → Festigkeit f; (= steadiness: of support, chair, ladder) → Stabilität f
(fig, of agreement, promise, commitment, belief, support) → Festigkeit f; (of person, action, manner)Entschlossenheit f; (= strictness)Strenge f; firmness of characterCharakterstärke f; it was thanks to his firmness of leadershipes war seiner festen Führung zu verdanken


[ˈfɜːmnɪs] n (of voice, decision) → fermezza; (of object) → solidità
References in classic literature ?
So, with Spartan firmness, the young authoress laid her first-born on her table, and chopped it up as ruthlessly as any ogre.
At length, the blanket was slowly raised, and the scout stood in the aperture with a countenance whose firmness evidently began to give way before a mystery that seemed to threaten some danger, against which all his cunning and experience might prove of no avail.
Weight, solidity, firmness -- this was the expression of his repose, even in such decay as had crept untimely over him at the period of which I speak.
Yet was this Nantucketer a man with some good-hearted traits; and this Lakeman, a mariner, who though a sort of devil indeed, might yet by inflexible firmness, only tempered by that common decency of human recognition which is the meanest slave's right; thus treated, this Steelkilt had long been retained harmless and docile.
From its relative situation then, I should call this high hump the organ of firmness or indomitableness in the Sperm Whale.
This was a little joke of John's; he used to say that a regular course of "the Birtwick horseballs" would cure almost any vicious horse; these balls, he said, were made up of patience and gentleness, firmness and petting, one pound of each to be mixed up with half a pint of common sense, and given to the horse every day.
It was plain to see how old and firm the girlish heart was grown under the discipline of heavy sorrow; and when, anon, her large dark eye was raised to follow the gambols of her little Harry, who was sporting, like some tropical butterfly, hither and thither over the floor, she showed a depth of firmness and steady resolve that was never there in her earlier and happier days.
He got home pretty late that night, and when he climbed cautiously in at the window, he uncovered an ambuscade, in the person of his aunt; and when she saw the state his clothes were in her resolution to turn his Saturday holiday into captivity at hard labor became adamantine in its firmness.
He was, in a word, a man of the most in- flexible firmness and stone-like coolness.
She was stronger alone, and her own good sense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be.
For a handsome and not an unamiable-looking man, he repelled me exceedingly: there was no power in that smooth-skinned face of a full oval shape: no firmness in that aquiline nose and small cherry mouth; there was no thought on the low, even forehead; no command in that blank, brown eye.
Clare; "say he shall possess industry, ambition, and firmness of purpose.