firmware definition by Webster's New World
firmware definition by American Heritage Dictionary
firmware - Computer Definition
Software programs that are stored in a computer's read-only memory (ROM), where they are available for instantaneous use. Firmware is hard-coded and stored on a silicon chip and, therefore, is not affected by loss of electrical power, hence the term firm. See also grayware, hardware, and software.
(FIRM softWARE) Software instructions residing in non-volatile memory chips that hold their content without power. Firmware is found on computer motherboards to hold hardware settings and booting data (see BIOS) and on myriad consumer electronics devices to hold the operating system or control program. Not So Firm Today Today's firmware chips are mostly flash memory, which can be easily updated, especially in consumer electronics products (see firmware update and flash memory). Although still used, the first firmware chips (ROMs, PROMs and EPROMs) could not be updated by the user. Changes in the software required replacing the chip, hence the "firm" moniker (see ROM, PROM and EPROM). Firmware Is Solid State Storage On devices with no hard drive, such as smartphones, MP3 players and tablets, flash memory chips also hold the applications and user data; however, in this case, they are called "memory" or "storage" and not firmware. See non-volatile memory, flash BIOS, FOTA and wares.