Words related to *dher-
Middle English affermen, affirmen, "to decide upon" (c. 1300); "to state positively" (late 14c.), from Old French afermer (Modern French affirmer) "affirm, confirm; strengthen, consolidate," from Latin affirmare "to make steady, strengthen," figuratively "confirm, corroborate," from ad "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support").
The spelling was refashioned 16c. in French and English on the Latin model. The legal sense of "declare solemnly (as before a court) but without an oath" is from early 15c. Related: Affirmed; affirming.
mid-13c., confirmyn, confermen "to ratify, sanction, make valid by a legal act," from Old French confermer (13c., Modern French confirmer) "strengthen, establish, consolidate; affirm by proof or evidence; anoint (a king)," from Latin confirmare "make firm, strengthen, establish," from assimilated form of com"together," but here perhaps an intensive prefix (see con-), + firmare "to strengthen," from firmus "strong, steadfast" (from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support").
From mid-14c. as "make firm or more firm, add strength to;" late 14c. as "make certain or sure, give an assurance of truth, verify." Related: Confirmative; confirmatory.
1796, in secular sense, "caste custom, right behavior;" in Buddhism and Hinduism, "moral law," from Sanskrit, "statute, law; right, justice," etymologically "that which is established firmly," from PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support." Compare cognate Latin firmus "strong; stable," figuratively "constant, trusty."
c. 1300, "fixed payment (usually in exchange for taxes collected, etc.), fixed rent," from Old French ferme "a rent, lease" (13c.), from Medieval Latin firma "fixed payment," from Latin firmare "to fix, settle, confirm, strengthen," from firmus "strong; stable," figuratively "constant, trusty" (from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support").
Sense of "tract of leased land" is first recorded early 14c.; that of "cultivated land" (leased or not) is 1520s. A word of confused history, but there is agreement that "the purely agricultural sense is comparatively modern" [Century Dictionary]. There is a set of Old English words that appear to be related in sound and sense; if these, too, are from Latin it would be a very early borrowing. Some books strenuously defend a theory that the Anglo-Saxon words are original (perhaps related to feorh "life").
Phrase buy the farm "die in battle," is from at least World War II, perhaps a cynical reference to the draftee's dream of getting out of the war and going home, in many cases to a peaceful farmstead. The simple term buy it as slang for "suffer a mishap," especially "to die" is attested by 1825, and seems to have been picked up in airmen's jargon. Meanwhile fetch the farm is prisoner slang from at least 1879 for "get sent to the infirmary," with reference to the better diet and lighter duties there.
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.
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.
1550s, of uncertain origin, possibly from French ferler "to furl," from Old French ferliier "chain, tie up, lock away," perhaps from fer "firm" (from Latin firmus; from PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support") + -lier "to bind" (from Latin ligare; from PIE root *leig- "to tie, bind"). Also said to be a shortening of earlier furdle "to furl or fold." Related: Furled; furling. As a noun from 1640s.