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finesse

noun fi·nesse \ fə-ˈnes \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of finesse

1 : refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture
  • trinkets of an extreme finesse
  • —Arnold Rosin
2 : skillful handling of a situation : adroit maneuvering
  • She handled the interviewer's questions with finesse.
3 : the withholding of one's highest card or trump in the hope that a lower card will take the trick because the only opposing higher card is in the hand of an opponent who has already played

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Examples of finesse in a Sentence

  1. She handled the interview questions with finesse.

  2. maneuvered his opponent into checkmate with his customary finesse

Recent Examples of finesse from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finesse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of finesse

Middle English, from Middle French, from fin

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finesse

verb

Definition of finesse

finessed; finessing
intransitive verb
: to make a finesse in playing cards
transitive verb
1 : to play (a card) in a finesse
2 a : to bring about, direct, or manage by adroit maneuvering
  • finesse his way through tight places
  • —Marquis James
b : evade, skirt
  • finesse the hard issues

Examples of finesse in a Sentence

  1. He managed to finesse a deal through bargaining.

  2. She is just trying to finesse the issue.

Recent Examples of finesse from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finesse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

finesse Started Out As a Noun

Finesse was a noun for more than 200 years before it became a verb. In the early 16th century the noun finesse was used to refer to refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture. Soon thereafter it developed the "skillful handling of a situation" meaning most common today. The first use of the verb finesse, however, was not as a corollary of one of these meanings. Instead, its meaning had to do with cards: if you finesse in a game like bridge or whist, you withhold your highest card or trump in the hope that a lower card will take the trick because the only opposing higher card is in the hand of an opponent who has already played. The other verb meanings of finesse developed within a few decades of this one.

Origin and Etymology of finesse


FINESSE Defined for English Language Learners

finesse

noun

Definition of finesse for English Language Learners

  • : skill and cleverness that is shown in the way someone deals with a situation, problem, etc.


finesse

verb

Definition of finesse for English Language Learners

  • : to handle, deal with, or do (something) in an indirect and skillful or clever way



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