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See Also: FLEXIBILITY/INFLEXIBILITY
- (Bread …) as hard as pumice —Mary Stewart
- Be like a rocky head and on which the waves break incessantly, but it stands fast and the waters sink to rest —Marcus Aurelius
- (Continue) firm and unmoved as a column —James Boswell
- Firm as alabaster —Henry James
- 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.”
- [Figure] firm as an apple —H. E. Bates
- (My heart is) firm as a stone —The Holy Bible/Job
- Firm as morality —Thorn Gunn
- [A distant ridge] firm as solid crystal —William Wordsworth
- 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.
- Hard and dry as rustling corn —Dame Edith Sitwell
- [A trained gangster] hard and solid, like a shark —John Malcolm
- Hard as a billiard ball —Anon
- (Soil) hard as a bowling alley —E. B. White
- 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.”
- 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.
- Hard as an egg at Easter —Michael Denham
- (His body thin and stringy but) hard as armor plating —Clive Cussler
- 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.
- (The wheel of your life is … as) hard as caked clay which nothing can grow in —Amy Lowell
- (Words as) hard as cannon-balls —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Hard as corkwood —Miguel de Cervantes
- (Felt as) hard as dried mud —James Crumley
The descriptive frame of reference is the face of a man who’s been beaten up.
- (Her breasts were small but looked) hard as green apples —Anon
- Hard as the knots in a whip —Yehuda Amichai
- 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.
- Hardened and set like concrete —Karl Shapiro
- My ass … was tight as a bull’s in a thunderstorm —Lael Tucker Wertenbaker
- (His jaw was) rigid as a horseshoe —Flannery O’Connor
- Rigid as a starfish —Joyce Cary
- Rigid as bamboo —Diane Ackerman
- Rigid as iron post —Marge Piercy
- (He went as) rigid as Lenin’s mummy —Joseph Wambaugh
- Rigid as though bound and gagged —Eudora Welty
- She’s hard as steel —William Shakespeare
- (Heat) solid as a hickory stick —Eudora Welty
- Solid as a hill —William Boyd
- Stand firm as a tower, which never shakes its top, no matter what winds are blowing —Dante Alighieri
- 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.
- (His head,) stiff as a scarab —Theodore Roethke
- Stiff as chessmen —Elizabeth Bowen
- Stiff as icicles —Anon
- Stiff as sticks —Dan Jacobson
- [Bed sheet] stretched tight as a drumhead —Walker Percy
- (Backside) sturdy as baking soda biscuits —Curtis White
- Taut as a sail —Barbara Howes
- Taut as a tent —Karl Shapiro
- (Neck tendons) taut as banjo strings —Derek Walcott
- Tight as a scout’s knot —Lorrie Moore
|Noun||1.||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 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
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|
granite - something having the quality of granite (unyielding firmness); "a man of granite"
sureness - the quality of being steady and unfailing; "sureness of hand"