A fixed yearly amount (food, provisions, money, etc.) payable as rent or tax.
A fixed yearly sum accepted from a person as a composition for taxes or other moneys which he is empowered to collect; also, a fixed charge imposed on a town, county, etc., in respect of a tax or taxes to be collected within its limits.
The letting-out of public revenue to a ‘farmer’; the privilege of farming a tax or taxes.
The body of farmers of public revenues.
The condition of being let at a fixed rent; lease; a lease.
From Middle English ferme, farme, influenced by Anglo-Norman ferme, from Medieval Latin ferma, firma. Both from Old English feorm, fearm, farm, from Proto-Germanic *fermō, from Proto-Germanic *ferhwō, *ferhuz, from Proto-Indo-European *perkʷ-.
Cognate with Scots ferm. Related also to Old English feorh, Old High German ferah, Icelandic fjör, Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐌹𐍂𐍈𐌿𐍃. Compare also Old English feormehām, feormere.
Old English feorm is the origin of Medieval Latin ferma, firma (whence also Old French ferme, Occitan ferma), instead of the historically assumed derivation from unrelated Latin firmus ("firm, solid"), which shares the same form. The sense of "rent, fixed payment", which was already present in the Old English word, may have been further strengthened due to resemblance to Latin firmitas ("security, surety"). Additionally, Old French ferme continued to shape the development of the English word throughout the Middle English period.
From Middle English fermen, from Anglo-Norman fermer ultimately from the same Old English source as Etymology 1.
From Middle English fermen, from Old English feormian, from Proto-West Germanic *furbēn. furbish.
Modern English dictionary
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