farm

Definitions

General English

  • verb to grow crops or raise animals on a farm

Agriculture

  • noun an area of land used for growing crops and keeping animals to provide food and the buildings associated with it
  • noun an area of land or water where particular animals or crops are raised commercially
  • verb to grow crops and keep animals on a particular piece or size of land
  • verb to raise a particular animal or crop commercially

Commerce

  • noun property in the country where crops are grown, where animals are raised for sale
  • verb to own a farm

Military

  • noun a complex of buildings, including the farmhouse, which form part of a farm

Origin & History of “farm”

The specifically agricultural connotations of farm are surprisingly recent. The word comes ultimately from Latin firmāre ‘make firm, fix’, which produced a medieval Latin derived noun firma, denoting ‘fixed payment’. English acquired the word via Old French ferme, and originally used it in just this sense (‘I will each of them all have 4d to drink when they pay their farm’, Bury Wills 1463); something of this early sense is preserved in the verbal usage farm out, which to begin with signified ‘rent out’. By the 16th century the noun was shifting semantically from ‘fixed (rental) payment’ to ‘land leased for such payment, for the purpose of cultivation’, but only very gradually did the notion of a farm being specifically a leased piece of land die out.
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