from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The vault or expanse of the heavens; the sky.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Foundation; support; basis.
  • noun The sky or heavens; the vault of heaven, viewed as something solid and abiding; the region of the air.
  • noun 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Fixed foundation; established basis.
  • noun The region of the air; the sky or heavens.
  • noun (Old Astron.) The orb of the fixed stars; the most rmote of the celestial spheres.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The vault of the heavens; the sky.
  • noun obsolete basis.
  • noun The field or sphere of an interest or activity.
  • noun archaic In the geocentric Ptolemaic system, the eighth sphere, which carried the fixed stars.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin firmāmentum, from Latin, support, from firmāre, to strengthen; see firm.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

English from the 13th century. From Latin firmāmentum (from firmō ("strengthen"), from firmus ("firm")), literally "that which strengthens or supports". The term is coined in the Vulgata in imitation of LXX στερέωμα ("firm or solid structure"), which in turn translates Hebrew רקיע, strictly speaking a mistranslation, as the original Hebrew term meant "expanse", from the root רקע "to spread out", which in Syriac had acquired the meaning "to make firm or solid".


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  • So as soon as the door of 27 closed on Mr. and Mrs. Darling there was a commotion in the firmament, and the smallest of all the stars in the Milky Way screamed out : "Now, Peter!"

    -James M. Barrie, "Peter and Wendy"

    April 13, 2009

  • "My daydream had me traveling to Belgium, persuading Vyvyan Ayers he needed to employ me as an amanuensis, accepting his offer to tutor me, shooting through the musical firmament, winning fame and fortune..." (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, 045.5).

    January 24, 2010

  • One of the ugliest words ever for one of the most glorious things ever. A shame. It sounds like it means solidified plaque. "Aha, Mr. Johnson, it looks we've got quite a bit of firmament building up on the side of your molars."

    January 24, 2010