fir

Definitions

Agriculture

Construction

  • A form of softwood indigenous to temperate zones, used principally for interior trim and framing. Varieties include Douglas fir, silver fir, balsam fir, and white fir.
  • Although used most often to refer to Douglas fir, which is also a pseudo-fir, a general term forany of a number of species of conifers, including the true firs.

Economics

  • (written as FIR)
    factor intensity reversal.
  • acronym forFactor intensity reversal
    (written as FIR)

Military

  • noun a tree which does not lose its leaves in winter (such as a pine, spruce, etc.)

Aviation

  • acronym forflight information region
    (written as FIR)
  • noun airspace with defined limits which has an air traffic control information and alerting service.

Origin & History of “fir”

As with many Indo-European tree-names, fir is a widespread term, but it does not mean the same thing wherever it occurs. Its prehistoric Indo-European ancestor was *perkos, which in Latin became quercus, the name for the ‘oak’. Nor was the application confined to southern Europe, for Swiss German has a related ferch ‘oak wood’. But by and large, the Germanic languages took the term over and applied it to the ‘pine’: German föhre, Swedish fura, and Danish fyr all mean ‘pine’. So also did Old English furh (known only in the compound furhwudu ‘pine-wood’), but this appears to have died out. It was replaced semantically by pine, but formally by middle English firre, a borrowing from the Old Norse form fyri- (also known only in compounds). This was used as a name not for the ‘pine’, but for the ‘fir’ (which in Old English times had been called sæppe or gyr).
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