noun Computers.
a microprogram stored in ROM, designed to implement a function that had previously been provided in software.

1965–70; firm1 + (soft)ware Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
firmware (ˈfɜːmˌwɛə)
computing a fixed form of software programmed into a read-only memory

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1968, from firm (adj.) + ending from software.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

Firmware definition

Software stored in read-only memory (ROM) or programmable ROM (PROM). Easier to change than hardware but harder than software stored on disk. Firmware is often responsible for the behaviour of a system when it is first switched on. A typical example would be a "monitor" program in a microcomputer which loads the full operating system from disk or from a network and then passes control to it.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
In my experience as a firmware engineer, you've got the order of causes
The idea is to sign all the code that your computer runs to the boot firmware,
  so in theory no malware can run on the machine.
Firmware is embedded software that controls hardware.
You'll need to roll your own malware to override the manufacturer's firmware.
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