Note: Do not rely on this information. It is very old.
FarmFarm (A.-S. feorm, provisions, food), originally land let on hire for a rent in kind, which (in England during the 13th century in particular) gradually became commuted for a money payment. The term was extended to all kinds of letting, especially that of the right of collecting taxes. [Farmers-General.] It is sometimes, though probably erroneously, derived from the Low Latin firma, an agreement, which probably is itself derived from feorm. The peculiar history of land tenure in England has made "farmer" synonymous with capitalist-cultivator, so that in America it is applied to owners who cultivate their land.