fin·​ish | \ ˈfi-nish How to pronounce finish (audio) \
finished; finishing; finishes

Definition of finish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to come to an end : terminate The meeting finished at noon.
2a : to come to the end of a course, task, or undertaking I shall finish with a Chopin nocturne— Lillian Hellman
b : to end relations used with with decided to finish with him for good
3 : to end a competition in a specified manner or position finished third in the race

transitive verb

1a : to bring to an end : terminate finished the speech and sat down
b : to use or dispose of entirely her sandwich finished the loaf
2a : to bring to completion or issue hope to finish their new home before winter
b : to provide with a finish especially : to put a final coat or surface on finish a table with varnish
3a : to defeat or ruin utterly and finally the scandal finished his career
b : to bring about the death of usually used with off The gladiator finished off his opponent.



Definition of finish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that completes or perfects: such as
a : the fine or decorative work required for a building or one of its parts
b : a finishing material used in painting
c : the final treatment or coating of a surface
d : the taste in the mouth after swallowing a beverage (such as wine)
2a : final stage : end
b : the cause of one's ruin
3 : the result or product of a finishing process a glossy finish
4 : the quality or state of being perfected

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from finish


finisher noun

Choose the Right Synonym for finish


close, end, conclude, finish, complete, terminate mean to bring or come to a stopping point or limit. close usually implies that something has been in some way open as well as unfinished. close a debate end conveys a strong sense of finality. ended his life conclude may imply a formal closing (as of a meeting). the service concluded with a blessing finish may stress completion of a final step in a process. after it is painted, the house will be finished complete implies the removal of all deficiencies or a successful finishing of what has been undertaken. the resolving of this last issue completes the agreement terminate implies the setting of a limit in time or space. your employment terminates after three months

Examples of finish in a Sentence


You can't watch TV until you finish your homework. He started his homework two hours ago and he still hasn't finished. They hope to finish their new home by winter. They're building a new home and they hope to finish by winter. The chairman finished the meeting at noon. The meeting finished on a positive note.


a suspense film with a perfect surprise finish The table had a shiny finish. I need to put one more coat of finish on the chair.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kline says these people are bad news, but Hopper isn’t finished. Kathryn Lindsay,, "R29 Binge Club: Stranger Things Season 3," 5 July 2019 The 26-year-old gave terse answers to reporters' questions, and within three minutes, the press conference was finished. Ben Morse, CNN, "Bernard Tomic fined $56,100 for lack of effort in limp Wimbledon defeat," 4 July 2019 After finishing high school, Rivera went to India to study meditation and yoga. Josefin Dolsten,, "Filipino-American dancer turned rabbi wants to change the conversation about Jews of color," 3 July 2019 After finishing up his prep career at MacDuffie School, Bouknight arrived at UConn on June 3. Dom Amore,, "UConn newcomer James Bouknight has the talent, Dan Hurley just wants to get his motor humming," 3 July 2019 And even before its survey of moderator well-being is finished, Facebook is simultaneously undertaking a new experiment on the mental health of thousands of contractors like the one who wrote me. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A Facebook civil rights audit could have unintended consequences," 2 July 2019 Fittingly, 2017 saw Zizou crowned as Best FIFA Football Coach after finishing second to Claudio Ranieri in the previous season., "Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman's Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro," 2 July 2019 The dream of beating the Americans was finished and the Soviet engineers knew it. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Nikita Khrushchev’s Son Watched his Father Lose the Space Race. 50 Years After the Moon Landing, He Holds No Grudge," 2 July 2019 Giolito became the first pitcher in major-league history to make the All-Star team the season after finishing with the worst ERA in the majors among qualified pitchers. Lamond Pope,, "4 takeaways from the White Sox-Twins series, including James McCann’s prowess and Lucas Giolito’s historic turnaround," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Visiting the centre’s modernist compound in Reading, England, Mr Blum watches one of these machines run a weather model from start to finish, spitting out a ten-day forecast in just over two hours. The Economist, "How to predict the weather," 6 July 2019 Based on folk tunes the composer heard in Russia's Caucasus mountains, this got playing alternately gutsy, reflective and pertly playful; irresistible start to finish; from Thompson, Rose, DerHovsepian and Taylor. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Enterprising programs open another season for Fort Worth's Mimir Chamber Music Festival," 6 July 2019 Not only is his security expert Ray Breslin in the picture from start to finish, but the story’s really all about Ray, and the villain out to bring him down. Noel Murray,, "Reviews: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista in ‘Escape Plan: The Extractors’; and more," 3 July 2019 The race ran under the green flag from start to finish for the second consecutive year. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alexander Rossi exorcises his Road America demons in dominating fashion," 23 June 2019 In doing so, Judge Michael Toomin blasted State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the prosecution, saying her botched decision to appoint her top deputy to prosecute Smollett after recusing herself invalidated the case from start to finish. Megan Crepeau,, "The bizarre Jussie Smollett case takes yet another strange twist," 21 June 2019 The process took four years from start to finish as the commission sought to impose five days of training on Reese for dismissing a peace order after hearing from a teenage domestic violence victim for 19 seconds. Doug Donovan,, "Four-year odyssey for Maryland judge's fight against a complaint ends in state's refusal to pay her legal bill," 19 June 2019 The presentation will highlight the construction process from start to finish, what to expect throughout the project and ways to be cost effective. Carol Kovach,, "Check out the local public library for summertime fun: A Place in the Sun," 18 June 2019 Maximum Security led the 145th Run for the Roses virtually from start to finish on May 4. Mark Inabinett |,, "Belmont Stakes 2019: No Triple Crown at stake, but Kentucky Derby still looms large," 7 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of finish


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for finish


Middle English finisshen, borrowed from Anglo-French finiss-, stem of finir, going back to Latlin fīnīre "to mark out the boundaries, limit, put an end to, bring to a close," derivative of fīnis "boundary, limit, ending" — more at final entry 1


derivative of finish entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about finish

Statistics for finish

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for finish

The first known use of finish was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for finish



English Language Learners Definition of finish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to reach the end of (something) : to stop doing (something) because it is completed
: to be done with building or creating (something)
: to cause something to end or stop : to reach the end of something



English Language Learners Definition of finish (Entry 2 of 2)

: the last part of something
: the final coating on a surface or the appearance produced by such a coating


fin·​ish | \ ˈfi-nish How to pronounce finish (audio) \
finished; finishing

Kids Definition of finish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to bring or come to an end : complete
2 : to use up completely I finished the pie.
3 : to end a competition in a certain position I finished third in the race.
4 : to put a final coat or surface on He finished the wood table with varnish.



Kids Definition of finish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : end entry 1 sense 2, conclusion The race had a close finish.
2 : the final treatment or coating of a surface or the appearance given by such a treatment The table has a shiny finish.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on finish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with finish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for finish

Spanish Central: Translation of finish

Nglish: Translation of finish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of finish for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about finish

Comments on finish

What made you want to look up finish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!