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Terra firma   /tˈɛrə fˈərmə/   Listen
Terra firma

noun
1.
The solid part of the earth's surface.  Synonyms: dry land, earth, ground, land, solid ground.  "The earth shook for several minutes" , "He dropped the logs on the ground"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Terra firma" Quotes from Famous Books



... come near the river, so I told the gun-bearer to drag him across by force. This he accordingly did, and the dog swam with frantic exertions across the river, and managed to disengage his head from the rope. The moment that he arrived on terra firma he rushed up a steep bank and looked attentively ...
— The Rifle and The Hound in Ceylon • Samuel White Baker

... rolls toward the hangar, and stops. A human form, enveloped in a species of garment for all the world like a diver's suit, and further adorned with goggles and a leather hood, rises unsteadily in the cockpit, clambers awkwardly overboard and slides down to terra firma. ...
— Flying for France • James R. McConnell

... that of a longer sentence interrupted exactly in the middle,—not unlike a bridge of two spans, resting on a central pier. But, precisely as the central pier is only an intermediate point of support, and not terra firma, so the ending of the Antecedent phrase is never anything more weighty than a semicadence, while the definite, conclusive, perfect cadence appears at the end of the Consequent phrase,—or ...
— Lessons in Music Form - A Manual of Analysis of All the Structural Factors and - Designs Employed in Musical Composition • Percy Goetschius

... never forget that every rule is shattered whenever any single element of the situation is unknown, and that happens very easily and frequently. Suppose that I did not have full knowledge of the nature of water, and walked on terra firma to the edge of some quiet, calm pool. When now I presume: water has a body, it has a definite density, it has consistency, weight, etc., I will also presume that I may go on walking over its surface just as over the surface of the earth,—and that, ...
— Robin Hood • J. Walker McSpadden

... coral, a marine vegetable, with which the South Seas in every part abounds, is continually shooting up from the bottom to the surface, which at first forms lagoon islands; and the water in the centre is evaporated by the heat of the sun, till at last a terra firma is completed. In this state it would for ever remain a barren sand, had not Divine Providence given birth to the cocoa-nut tree, whose fruit is so protected with a hard shell, that after floating about for a twelve-month in the sea, it will vegetate, take ...
— Voyage of H.M.S. Pandora - Despatched to Arrest the Mutineers of the 'Bounty' in the - South Seas, 1790-1791 • Edward Edwards

... a couple of days he was dexterously landed on the end of a long pier, which they passed without stopping, on their way to their own obscure anchorage. As he jumped from the rail to the pier and felt again the touch of terra firma he drew a long breath of uncontrollable elation. Yet he had not a cent in the world, no friends, and certainly no prospects. He did not even know whether to turn to the right or the left as he stepped out upon the docks, ...
— Agatha Webb • Anna Katharine Green

... in Australia. Our feet feel strange as they tread upon TERRA FIRMA, and our SEA-LEGS (to use a sailor's phrase) are not so ready to leave us after a four months' service, as we should have anticipated; but it matters little, for we are in the colonies, walking with undignified, awkward gait, not on a fashionable promenade, but ...
— A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53. • Mrs. Charles (Ellen) Clacey

... extravagant luxuriance. But these things were observed as it were subconsciously, every eye in the boat being fixed intently upon the little strip of beach toward which we were heading, while the longing to feel our feet once more on terra firma grew more intense as the minutes slipped by. We had not the remotest idea whether or not the island was inhabited, though we scarcely thought it possible that such a paradise could be devoid of inhabitants; but if the beach toward which we were heading had suddenly become black with hostile ...
— The First Mate - The Story of a Strange Cruise • Harry Collingwood

... contrary," he replied, to my sorrow: "the day may come in which Zealand will no longer be an archipelago, but terra firma. The Scheldt and the Meuse continually bring down mud, which is deposited in the arms of the sea, and, rising little by little, enlarges the islands, thus enclosing the towns and villages that were ports on the coast. Axel, Goes, ...
— Holland, v. 1 (of 2) • Edmondo de Amicis

... force and losing her balance she fell backward down a little hill and rolled into the brook which ran at the foot of the incline. There she splashed about frantically and implored her companions to "thave" her until helped to terra firma ...
— The Meadow-Brook Girls Under Canvas • Janet Aldridge

... terra firma. I believe I am right in saying that the essence of language lies in the intentional conveyance of ideas from one living being to another through the instrumentality of arbitrary tokens or symbols agreed upon and understood ...
— The Humour of Homer and Other Essays • Samuel Butler

... the transverse planks, which are but loosely held in their places, rattle and rumble ominously, as the experienced, sagacious animals pick their way cautiously and gingerly among the dangerous holes and crevices; lastly, you plunge with a horrible jolt into a second mud zone, and finally regain terra firma, conscious of that pleasant sensation which a young officer may be supposed to feel after his first cavalry ...
— Russia • Donald Mackenzie Wallace

... third day we landed them at Corrientes, and the women, in their white (?) garments, with their babies and ikons, and bundles—and husbands—trod on terra firma for the first time in ...
— Through Five Republics on Horseback • G. Whitfield Ray

... snapped and stalked out on that heaving horror. I never learned the details of the conversation, but a clatter of hoofs sounded behind me and Bob anchored his nose against my shoulder, there to remain until terra firma was regained. I worried all the rest of the way over and back about having to get him across again, but returning, he walked on to the bridge as if crossing it were his ...
— I Married a Ranger • Dama Margaret Smith

... of supernatural phenomena varying widely even in one individual from time to time. Convinced of his supernatural calling, he felt inferior to no one in the power of exegesis. As long as he held his balance and remained on terra firma his followers believed in him as he believed in himself. But as Lucius Little has well said: "Once in a while a colored preacher lost his influence with his congregation by drinking too deeply of ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 3, 1918 • Various

... in motion, and nearly drowned some of the troops in the rice-fields of the Savannah, swept away our causeway (which had been carefully corduroyed), and made the swamps hereabout mere lakes of slimy mud. The weather is now good, and I have the army on terra firma. Supplies, too, came for a long time by daily driblets instead of in bulk; this is now all remedied, and I hope to start ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... would scramble out on to the stones with great rapidity, at once exchanging the vigorous and graceful movements for which they were so remarkable while in the water for the most ludicrous and ungainly ones possible now that they were on terra firma; for, they tumbled about on the shingle and apparently with difficulty assumed the normal position which is their habit when on land—that of standing upright on their feet. These latter are set too far back for their bodies to hang horizontally; ...
— Fritz and Eric - The Brother Crusoes • John Conroy Hutcheson

... it's your own doing, and you pays for dilapidations, as ve calls 'em at Cambridge. Coming, sir—d'rec'ly, sir—yes, sir." So saying, he slipped down the pony's shoulder, shook himself to set his dress in order as soon as he reached terra firma, and unbuckling Lawless's driving coat, which was fastened round his waist by a broad strap, jumped upon a horse-block, and held out the garment at arm's length for 316 his master to put on. The gun-case and carpet-bag were then transferred from ...
— Frank Fairlegh - Scenes From The Life Of A Private Pupil • Frank E. Smedley

... difficulty in getting the horses through it. Got them all through with the exception of Frew's horse, which stuck hard and fast in it, and we were obliged to pull him out, which was soon accomplished, and we got him safe on terra firma. Continued along the foot of the table land, and halted at our camp of the 10th ultimo. At about seven p.m. last night I heard something plunging in the river; sent down to see what it was; found two of the ...
— Explorations in Australia, The Journals of John McDouall Stuart • John McDouall Stuart

... origin of polity is dubious, we are upon the terra firma of actual records when we speak of the preservation of polities. Perhaps every young Englishman who comes now-a-days to Aristotle or Plato is struck with their conservatism: fresh from the liberal doctrines of the present age, he ...
— Physics and Politics, or, Thoughts on the application of the principles of "natural selection" and "inheritance" to political society • Walter Bagehot

... until an "All right," that sounded like a voice from the tomb, assured him that his companion had reached terra firma. Then he descended very carefully, ...
— Bred in the Bone • James Payn

... came up, and (hayling of us whence our shippe was) a Portugall which we had with us, made them answere, that we were of the fleete of Terra Firma, and of Sivil; with that they bid us amaine English dogs, and came upon our quarter star-boord, and giving us five cast pieces out of her prowe they sought to lay us aboord; but we so galled them with our muskets that we put them from our quarter. Then they ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Volume 19 - Travel and Adventure • Various

... me like lead. It had turned stale and tasteless. The sight of you, Ingigerd, and, strange to say, the wreck, which I experienced not only symbolically but in actuality, taught me to value life again. You and bare existence—the two things I saved from the wreck. Once more I stand on terra firma. I love the soil. I should like to fondle it. But I am not yet secure, Ingigerd. I am still sore, without and within, you know. You have suffered a loss, I have suffered a loss. We have beheld the other side of existence, the unforgettable gloom. We have looked ...
— Atlantis • Gerhart Hauptmann

... the higher you go from the foot of the mast, which is the fulcrum of the lever, and the smell of the grease, which offended my fastidious senses, upset my stomach again, and I was not a little rejoiced when I had finished my job and got upon the comparative terra firma of the deck. In a few minutes seven bells were struck, the log hove, the watch called, and we went to breakfast. Here I cannot but remember the advice of the cook, a simple-hearted African. "Now,'' says he, "my lad, you are well cleaned ...
— Two Years Before the Mast • Richard Henry Dana

... On terra firma we encountered a few men in no outward way differing from the fishermen of the main, but with a confirmed craving after coin, which, however common to all civilized beings, is seldom so openly and importunately exposed as amongst these simple citizens. Boys of seventeen and ...
— Impressions of America - During The Years 1833, 1834, and 1835. In Two Volumes, Volume II. • Tyrone Power

... memoirs upon the Veneti (Memorie de' Veneti primi e secondi del conte Figliasi, t. vi. Veneziai, 796,) that from the most remote period, this nation, which occupied the country which has since been called the Venetian States or Terra Firma, likewise inhabited the islands scattered upon the coast, and that from thence arose the names of Venetia prima and secunda, of which the first applied to the main land and the second to the islands and lagunes. From the time of the Pelasgi and of the Etrurians, ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 3 • Edward Gibbon

... convalescence, left by the ebb of sickness, yet far enough from the terra firma of established health, your note, dear Editor, reached me, requesting—an article. In Articulo Mortis, thought I; but it is something hard—and the quibble, wretched as it was, relieved me. The summons, unseasonable as it appeared, seemed to ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... seaward, and at the last, when I turned unwillingly to retrace my steps, I saw his black head bobbing about on the calm surface. When, after a series of involuntary feats on the mangrove rope, I again stood on 'terra firma', all the pigeons had left; and I was compelled to make my way back to camp, empty-handed, muddy, cut about the shins, and with my boots almost in tatters. "So much," thought I, "for trying to catch ...
— Australian Search Party • Charles Henry Eden

... without prejudice to the commerce of the British nation. In order to fulfill this intention with greater facility, it will be prudent for your Excellency to animate the inhabitants of Trinidad in keeping up the communication which they had with those of Terra Firma, previous to the reduction of that island; under the assurance, that they will find there an entrepot, or general magazine, of every sort of goods whatever. To this end, his Britannic Majesty has determined, in council, to grant freedom to the ports ...
— The Land We Live In - The Story of Our Country • Henry Mann

... in her voice. Her pointed remarks had not been inspired by sheer felinity. It was her purpose to let Madeleine know that she was in danger of scandal or worse, and that the sooner she scrambled back to terra firma the better. Of course she could not refrain from an immediate round of calls upon impatient friends, but she salved her conscience by asserting roundly (and with entire honesty) that there was nothing in it as yet. She had seen ...
— Sleeping Fires • Gertrude Atherton

... have supper with me at the hotel?" he said. "It's the last meal you'll get on terra firma for some time to come. I've got a ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... pioneer battalion kindly offered me a share of his dug-out—one of Fritz's cast-offs. I gladly accepted, and over a cup—or rather a tin—of tea, we exchanged views on various subjects. About ten o'clock I went above to terra firma and watched the shells bursting over the German lines. Myriads of star-shells or Verey lights shot high in the sky, lighting up the whole country-side like day. The sight was wonderful, and silhouetted against ...
— How I Filmed the War - A Record of the Extraordinary Experiences of the Man Who - Filmed the Great Somme Battles, etc. • Lieut. Geoffrey H. Malins

... almost supreme, however, in the internal affairs of his ship. Captain Claret was a large, portly man, a Harry the Eighth afloat, bluff and hearty; and as kingly in his cabin as Harry on his throne. For a ship is a bit of terra firma cut off from the main; it is a state in itself; and ...
— White Jacket - or, the World on a Man-of-War • Herman Melville

... with me that we are once more on TERRA FIRMA. We arrived yesterday morning at ten o'clock, after a very rough voyage and after riding all night in the Channel in a tremendous gale, so bad that no pilot could reach us to bring us in on Saturday evening. A record of a sea voyage will be only interesting to ...
— Letters from England 1846-1849 • Elizabeth Davis Bancroft (Mrs. George Bancroft)

... crushing as he walked the grains of sand under his feet. For the past twenty days his rovings had been upon planks, following with the automatic precision of a riding school the oval promenade on the deck of a ship. His feet accustomed to insecure ground, still were keeping on terra firma a certain sensation of elastic unsteadiness. His goings and comings were not awakening the curiosity of the people seated in the open, for a common preoccupation seemed to be monopolizing all the men and women. The groups were exchanging impressions. Those ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... the 13th of May, our travellers, for the first time, reconnoitred the part of the coast on which they had landed. It was a sort of island of solid ground in the midst of an immense marsh. Around this fragment of terra firma grew reeds as lofty as trees are in Europe, and stretching away ...
— Five Weeks in a Balloon • Jules Verne

... coming back any more?" said the mother as she slowly let down her solid foot till it rested on the step of the gig. "Well, such a day as we've had!" and then leaning heavily on a big boy's shoulder, she stepped once more on terra firma. ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... trembling and ashen-hued Usanga who tumbled out of the fuselage, for his nerves were still on edge as a result of the harrowing experience of the loop, yet with terra firma once more under foot, he quickly regained his composure. Strutting about with great show and braggadocio, he strove to impress his followers with the mere nothingness of so trivial a feat as flying birdlike thousands of yards above the jungle, though it ...
— Tarzan the Untamed • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... Virgins, turning to the south made for Margarita, [20] then famous for its pearl fisheries, and from thence sailed to St. Juan de Porto-rico. Here the fleet was divided into three squadrons. One was to go to Porto-bello, on the Isthmus of Panama, another to the coast of South America, then called Terra Firma, and the third to Mexico, then known as New Spain. This latter squadron, to which Champlain was attached, coasted along the northern shore of the island of Saint Domingo, otherwise Hispaniola, touching at Porto Platte, ...
— Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 1 • Samuel de Champlain

... me that the elephants would again retreat to some other part of the forest after having made a circuit in the tank. I accordingly waded back at my best speed to terra firma, and then striking off to my right, I ran along parallel to the water for about half a mile, fully expecting to meet the herd once more on their entrance to the jungle. It was now that I deplored the absence of my regular gun-bearers; the village people had no taste for ...
— Eight Years' Wandering in Ceylon • Samuel White Baker

... this care-free butterfly: yet he knew he must crush the dangerous thoughts which were developing. "If you mistrust me, hustle for yourself. You have the death-certificate, the services will be over in a few days, and then you will have enough money to live on your father's yacht or terra firma for the rest of your life, in the China Sea, or India, as far away from Broadway chorus girls as you ...
— The Voice on the Wire • Eustace Hale Ball

... the more horrify the true histories of these deadly encounters. For not only do fabulous rumors naturally grow out of the very body of all surprising terrible events, —as the smitten tree gives birth to its fungi; but, in maritime life, far more than in that of terra firma, wild rumors abound, wherever there is any adequate reality for them to cling to. And as the sea surpasses the land in this matter, so the whale fishery surpasses every other sort of maritime life, in the wonderfulness and fearfulness of the .. rumors which ...
— Moby-Dick • Melville

... outlet and discharge for every landscape, and when we have followed down this artificial promontory, a wharf, and have seen the waves on three sides of us, we have taken the first step toward circumnavigating the globe. This is our last terra firma. One step farther, and there is no possible foothold but a deck, which tilts and totters beneath our feet. A wharf, therefore, is properly neutral ground for all. It is a silent hospitality, understood ...
— Oldport Days • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... from many mortal dangers: and when the King Behechio died, Anacaona was left mistress of the kingdom. 13. The governor(81) who ruled this island arrived there once, with sixty horsemen and more than three hundred foot. The horsemen alone were sufficient to ruin the whole island and the terra firma. More than three hundred lords were assembled, whom he had summoned and reassured. He lured the principal ones by fraud, into a straw-house, and setting fire to it, he burnt them alive. 14. All the others, together with numberless people, were put to the sword, and lance. And to do honour to ...
— Bartholomew de Las Casas; his life, apostolate, and writings • Francis Augustus MacNutt

... candle-light; for those were the only papers he would subscribe for. His bed consisted of, first, boards, then straw, then sacking; and it had remained so long without being frayed out that it had become packed as hard as terra firma. His blankets had not seen the light of day, nor enjoyed the fresh cool breezes for many long years. His one window was opaque with the smoke of many years' accumulation. Although his chickens had a coop of their own where they roosted at night, they ran about the floor of his "dug-out" ...
— Skookum Chuck Fables - Bits of History, Through the Microscope • Skookum Chuck (pseud for R.D. Cumming)

... so slowly that the rushes merely seemed to drift ashore. This he did not to create suspicion, and so spoil the next attempt. As he glided, he gave his duck air every now and then, and soon got on terra firma. By this time he had taught the duck not to quack, or he would get soused and held under. He now took the long gut-end and tied it tight round the bird's leg, and so fastened the ...
— Foul Play • Charles Reade

... compliment," he observed. "The fact is, you see, Mr Merry, that I am worth five or six men at least in the ship, and, in appearance at least, little more than one out of it, and so I am doomed to remain, while others are enjoying themselves on terra firma." ...
— Marmaduke Merry - A Tale of Naval Adventures in Bygone Days • William H. G. Kingston

... the zenith of its power under Volfkertis of Cologne, known to the Italians as Volchero. He was elected in 1204, and ruled till 1218. His dioceses included seventeen bishoprics of Venice on terra firma, stretching as far as Como and Trent, and six in Istria. The Venetian island bishoprics, by the convention of 1180, were under the Patriarch of Grado. In 1208 his dominions were so much increased that they almost exceeded those ...
— The Shores of the Adriatic - The Austrian Side, The Kuestenlande, Istria, and Dalmatia • F. Hamilton Jackson

... here goin' on four year ago. I'd been afloat on the roof of a deckhouse for three days arter the fruiter Bainbridge were cast away, and I tell you, mate, I was powerful glad to hit any old kind of terra firma then. The bunch of natives who fed me and sheltered me was a kind lot. They didn't seem to belong to no country in partikler, and though I knowed Britain claimed the Bahamas, I jes' kind a thought Teddy might want the place for a coaling station some time. So I let 'em know I was their King, ...
— The Mermaid of Druid Lake and Other Stories • Charles Weathers Bump

... other hand, did not enjoy the excursion, were alarmed by the force of the current and turned tail. These were chased, vigorously chastised, herded in the way they should go, and escorted to the other side—all save one, which obstinately refused to quit terra firma, and was accordingly fastened to a launch, in order to be towed across; but the powerful and headstrong brute towed the launch inland and, having utterly smashed it and destroyed several bamboo ...
— The Road to Mandalay - A Tale of Burma • B. M. Croker

... with the Sloop on terra firma, instead of at the bottom of the Sea, as might have been expected—Admiral ...
— Willis the Pilot • Paul Adrien

... experienced a sensation of self-satisfaction when he encountered the names of Dante and Shakespeare. He knew that they had not painted, but they ought to appear in every speech which was worthy of respect. And when he came to the paragraphs on modern art, he seemed to touch terra firma, and smiled with a superior air. Maltrana did not know much about that subject; superficial appreciation of a layman; but he wrote well, very well; he could not have done better himself. And he studied his speech, till ...
— Woman Triumphant - (La Maja Desnuda) • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... too, McPherson—you'll come up and show Mr. Dimsdale the way. Cock and Cowslip, corner o' Sextant Court." The two having accepted his invitation, the captain shuffled off across the gangway and on to terra firma. ...
— The Firm of Girdlestone • Arthur Conan Doyle

... of dogs mentioned by Colonel Smith, concerning which I have no data for anecdotes, I pause for a moment at the drover, or cattle-dog of Cuba, and Terra Firma, in America, placed by him among the native dogs, (Canis Laniarius), because they are so serviceable in landing cattle from vessels. The oxen are hoisted out by slings passed round the base of their horns; and when they are allowed to fall into the water, ...
— Anecdotes of the Habits and Instinct of Animals • R. Lee

... the midday halt, a little diversion enlivened the proceedings in the shape of pulling two bogged horses out of a narrow cut where they had been 'watered.' We managed with the help of ropes and planks to get the poor brutes on to terra firma again, more ...
— With The Immortal Seventh Division • E. J. Kennedy and the Lord Bishop of Winchester

... farewell, and bequeathed to her my street apparel and a trifling sum of old Verage's money. In exchange, I donned her bonnet and veil, and adopted her rather awkward gait, and so had the satisfaction of seeing, on my return to terra firma, old Verage gazing enraptured after my Paris bonnet and floating veil as it disappeared with ...
— Madeline Payne, the Detective's Daughter • Lawrence L. Lynch

... down the gangway, and over the crowded quay to the cab. I knew that each derisive glance of the spectators was to him like a sword-thrust, and longed to throttle the Major, who seemed to enjoy himself amazingly on terra firma, and sang at the top of his voice as we drove through the streets of Southampton. The old doctor kept up a cheery flow of small-talk with me, thinking, no doubt, that this would be a kindness to Derrick: and at last that purgatorial drive ...
— Derrick Vaughan—Novelist • Edna Lyall

... up and down the paddock, or rather the horse was walking the groom, for the animal being very tall and powerful and much given to divers startings, snortings, and tossings of the head, it thus befell that to every step the diminutive groom marched on terra firma, he took one in mid-air, at which times, swinging pendulum-like, he poured forth a stream of invective that the most experienced ostler, guard, or coachman might well have envied, and all in a voice so gruff, so hoarse and guttural, ...
— The Amateur Gentleman • Jeffery Farnol et al



Words linked to "Terra firma" :   archipelago, plain, mainland, beachfront, object, timberland, land mass, slash, neck, champaign, oxbow, globe, timber, foreland, field, isthmus, peninsula, cape, woodland, forest, America, landmass, physical object, wonderland, world, coastal plain, floor, island, ness



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