American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The vault or expanse of the heavens; the sky.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Foundation; support; basis.
- n. The sky or heavens; the vault of heaven, viewed as something solid and abiding; the region of the air. [The Hebrew word rakia, which is so rendered in Scripture, conveys chiefly the idea of expansion, although that of solidity is also suggested, inasmuch as the root signification of the word is ‘that which is expanded by beating out.’ The English firmament is adopted from the Latin firmamentum, which is the equivalent of the Greek
στερέωμα(⟨ στερεός, firm, solid), by which the writers of the Septuagint rendered rakia. Some old astronomers identified the firmament with the orb of the fixed stars; but the word never had any settled and exact meaning in astronomy.]
- n. A piece of jewelry, as a star or the like, meant to be worn in a head-dress, such as the commode or tower of the seventeenth century.
- n. uncountable The vault of the heavens; the sky.
- n. obsolete basis.
- n. The field or sphere of an interest or activity.
- n. archaic In the geocentric Ptolemaic system, the eighth sphere, which carried the fixed stars.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. obsolete Fixed foundation; established basis.
- n. The region of the air; the sky or heavens.
- n. (Old Astron.) The orb of the fixed stars; the most rmote of the celestial spheres.
- n. the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
- Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin firmāmentum, from Latin, support, from firmāre, to strengthen; see firm2. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The head of the good beast rises into the heavens, the mysterious waters which cover the world flow along her spine; the star-covered underside of her body, which we call the firmament, is visible to the inhabitants of earth, and her four legs are the four pillars standing at the four cardinal points of the world.”
“The reader may also refer to the note of Johannes Clericus, in his commentary on Genesis, who retains the word firmament, and argues at length in vindication of the term.”
“The firmament is the cupola of his temple and the breath of millions the incense of his altar.”
“Scripture constantly makes use of the word firmament to express extraordinary strength.”
“I have said what the word firmament in Scripture means.”
“But the firmament is firm, and answers to its name, when those who seem to prop it are gone.”
“The interposing firmament is to him as transparent crystal, Ezek. i.”
“In thy book thou dost discuss these things with us wisely, our God -- in thy book, which is thy "firmament" -- in order that we may be able to view all things in admiring contemplation, although thus far we must do so through signs and seasons and in days and years.”
“As to the heavens in general, the prevailing view in the Church was based upon the scriptural declarations that a solid vault -- a "firmament" -- was extended above the earth, and that the heavenly bodies were simply lights hung within it.”
“Perhaps it is really true that the earth is a dark ball, hanging in the open space which we call the firmament of heaven, moving slowly round the shining sun, but spinning like a top all the time itself, so that first one side and then the other faces the brightness; and thus there is a constant change from light to darkness and darkness to light going on all over the world; and this makes Day and Night.”
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