terra firma

firm or solid earth; dry land (as opposed to water or air).

1595–1605; < Latin

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World English Dictionary
terra firma (ˈfɜːmə)
the solid earth; firm ground
[C17: from Latin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

terra firma
1605, "part of the Italian mainland ruled by Venice," from Mod.L. terra firma, lit. "firm land," from L. terra "earth, land" (see terrain) + firma "firm," fem. of firmus (see firm (adj.)). Meaning "the land" (as distinct from "the sea") is first attested 1693.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
terra firma [(ter-uh fur-muh)]

Dry land, as opposed to the sea: “After our stormy voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, we were relieved to set foot on terra firma.” From Latin, meaning “firm (or solid) ground.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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