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[fur-muh-muh nt] /ˈfɜr mə mənt/
the vault of heaven; sky.
Origin of firmament
1250-1300; Middle English < Late Latin firmāmentum sky, Latin: support, prop, stay, equivalent to firmā(re) to strengthen, support (see firm2) + -mentum -ment
Related forms
[fur-muh-men-tl] /ˌfɜr məˈmɛn tl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for firmament
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now we know that there is no firmament, and we know that the waters are not divided by a firmament.

  • But now came a cloud which swallowed every other in my firmament.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • When he was actually at the base of its wall, it seemed to fill half the firmament and more than half the horizon.

    Space Tug Murray Leinster
  • The troop of the stars was posted in the immeasurable deeps of the firmament.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • He is one of those 'splendours of the firmament of time' who 'may be eclipsed, but are extinguished not.'

    Adonais Shelley
  • The firmament rang with laughter as the other candidates panted up.

  • A new light had loomed up in the firmament of the war, and people hailed the glorious star.

    Our Standard-Bearer Oliver Optic
  • It looks to me like the firmament at night, with all the stars a-shining.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for firmament


the expanse of the sky; heavens
Derived Forms
firmamental (ˌfɜːməˈmɛntəl) adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Late Latin firmāmentum sky (considered as fixed above the earth), from Latin: prop, support, from firmāre to make firm1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for firmament

mid-13c., from Latin firmamentum "firmament," literally "a support or strengthening," from firmus "firm" (see firm (adj.)), used in Vulgate to translate Greek stereoma "firm or solid structure," which translated Hebrew raqia, a word used of both the vault of the sky and the floor of the earth in the Old Testament, probably literally "expanse," from raqa "to spread out," but in Syriac meaning "to make firm or solid," hence the erroneous translation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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firmament in the Bible

from the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation of the Hebrew _raki'a_. This word means simply "expansion." It denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately above us. They who rendered _raki'a_ by firmamentum regarded it as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen. 1:7). The _raki'a_ supported the upper reservoir (Ps. 148:4). It was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14), and is spoken of as having "windows" and "doors" (Gen. 7:11; Isa. 24:18; Mal. 3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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