c. 1300, fermen "make firm, establish," from Old French fermer "consolidate; fasten, secure; build, set up; fortify" (12c.) or directly from Latin firmare "make firm; affirm; strengthen, fortify, sustain; establish, prove, declare," from firmus "strong, steadfast, stable" (see firm (adj.)). Intransitive use, "become firm" is from 1879; with up (adv.) from 1956. Related: Firmed; firming.
late 14c., ferm, "strong, steady" (of things), "permanent, enduring" (of agreements), "steadfast, steady" (of persons), "sound, well-founded" (of arguments), from Old French ferm "strong, vigorous; healthy, sound; steadfast, loyal, faithful" (12c.), from Latin firmus "strong, steadfast, enduring, stable," figuratively "constant, steadfast, trusty, faithful," from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support." The spelling return to -i- in late 1500s was modeled on Latin. Related: Firmly; firmness.
"business house," 1744, according to Barnhart from German Firma "a business, name of a business," originally "signature," from Italian firma "signature," from firmare "to sign," from Latin firmare "make firm, affirm," in Late Latin, "confirm (by signature)," from firmus "strong; stable," figuratively "constant, trusty" (see firm (adj.)).
early 15c., affirmacioun, "assertion that something is true," from Old French afermacion "confirmation" (14c.), from Latin affirmationem (nominative affirmatio) "an affirmation, solid assurance," noun of action from past-participle stem of affirmare "to make steady; strengthen; confirm," from ad "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)).
In law, as the word for the conscientious-objector alternative to oath-taking (Quakers, Moravians, etc.), it is attested from 1690s; if false, it incurs the same penalty as perjury.
"answering 'yes,' " mid-15c., from use in logic; from Old French affirmatif, earlier afirmatif (13c.), from Latin affirmativus, from affirmat-, past-participle stem of affirmare "to make steady; strengthen; confirm," from ad "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)).
As a noun from early 15c., "that which affirms or asserts." American English affirmative action "positive or corrective effort by employers to prevent discrimination in hiring or promotion" is attested from 1935 with regard to labor unions (reinstatement of fired members, etc.). The specific racial sense is attested from 1961; by late 1970s the sense had shifted toward pro-active methods such as hiring quotas. Related: Affirmatively.
mid-13c., from Old French firmament or directly from Latin firmamentum "firmament," literally "a support, a strengthening," from firmus "strong, steadfast, enduring" (from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support" ).
Used in Late Latin in the Vulgate to translate Greek stereoma "firm or solid structure," which translated Hebrew raqia, a word used of both the vault of the sky and the floor of the earth in the Old Testament, probably literally "expanse," from raqa "to spread out," but in Syriac meaning "to make firm or solid," hence the erroneous translation. Related: Firmamental.
Old English fæstnian "make fast, make firm, fix, secure," also "ratify, betroth, confirm," from Proto-Germanic *fastinon "to make firm or fast" (source also of Old Frisian festnia "to make firm, bind fast," Old Saxon fastnon, Old High German fastnion, German festnen, Old Norse fastna "to pledge, betroth"), from PIE *fast "solid, firm" (see fast (adj.)). Related: Fastened; fastening.
Old English stedefæst "secure in position, steady, firm in its place," from stede (see stead) + fæst (see fast (adj.)); similar formation in Middle Low German stedevast, Old Norse staðfastr "steadfast, firm; faithful, staunch, firm in one's mind." Of persons, in English, "unshakable, stubborn, resolute" from c. 1200. Related: Steadfastly, steadfastness.
1510s, "to combine into one body," from Latin consolidatus, past participle of consolidare "to make solid," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + solidare "to make solid," from solidus "firm, whole, undivided, entire," from suffixed form of PIE root *sol- "whole."
Meaning "to make firm or strong" is from 1530s; that of "to form into a solid mass" is from 1650s. Intransitive sense "to grow firm or compact" is from 1620s. Caxton (late 15c.) has consolid (v.), from French consolider. Related: Consolidated; consolidating.