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 withdecided 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 offThe 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

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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

Verb 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. Noun 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The result means Barcelona moved ahead of Real Madrid by a point atop the standings but Los Blancos have played one fewer game and hold the advantage if the teams finish tied on points by virtue of having a better head-to-head record. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Barcelona's title hopes dim after a draw at Celta Vigo," 27 June 2020 This summer, builders will finish the reconstruction of High Street and the construction of new brick crosswalks, lights and trees along the district’s primary artery. Jarrad Saffren, USA TODAY, "Mount Holly continues to improve High Street business district," 20 June 2020 Green tomatoes can be used like squash in recipes, and fruit with any color will finish ripening on the kitchen counter., "Calvin Finch: It’s time for San Antonio tomato gardeners to start over with fall plants," 18 June 2020 The tour will finish with a two-night stint at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Aug. 27 and 28. Georgia Slater,, "Kenny Chesney Postpones Chillaxification Tour Until 2021 as He Releases New Stadium Dates," 16 June 2020 Preston Trail head pro Cameron Doan shot a final-round 68 to finish at 5-under 137 and win the TPx Communications Western Championship at Wichita Falls Country Club by two shots Tuesday. Mark Kazlowski, Dallas News, "Local links: Preston Trail’s Cameron Doan wins NTPGA major," 10 June 2020 Split it straight down and open it up, then grill it over the barbecue and finish it with some lemon on top, says chief Gordon Ramsay. National Geographic, "How can you explore the wild safely this summer?," 9 June 2020 In the parking lot, organizers provided people with noise makers and markers to finish decorating. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis protests: Early morning vehicle procession aims to 'wake up' north side," 7 June 2020 Since the situation is changing quickly, this list may change as more resorts finish their preparations to meet state requirements to reopen. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Las Vegas is open. If you're ready for a trip from Arizona, here's what will be different," 4 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Pinot Grigio Ramato is a delightful pink, and has a full-bodied flavor with an elegantly crisp finish with hints of peach, melon and blackberry scents. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Mary J. Blige Now Has Her Own Wine Collection — and It's Perfect for Summer," 29 June 2020 If your car sits for a while, dust, tree sap and bird droppings can take a toll on its finish. USA Today, "Is COVID-19 preventing you from driving your car as much as you'd like?," 29 June 2020 Suarez's clinical finish inside the box in the 67th minute restored Barcelona's advantage before Aspas' low free kick around the wall completely caught out Barcelona keeper Marc-André ter Stegen. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Barcelona's title hopes dim after a draw at Celta Vigo," 27 June 2020 Students recently returned to finish labs for the semester, and WCTC has expanded thei space into extra rooms to safely allow students to continue working. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Baking instructor of the year's tips: Avoid cake mixes, don't sweat the recipe and get a professional spatula," 23 June 2020 Masks are two layers and have an antimicrobial finish. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "Best antimicrobial face masks, according to medical experts," 23 June 2020 This is the tournament that so dramatically jump-started his own career, with his second-place finish to Chan. Maria Konnikova, The Atlantic, "How I Became a Poker Champion in One Year," 23 June 2020 The clubs are locked in a razor-close title race that will turn into a mad sprint to the league's July 19 finish. Briar Napier, azcentral, "England's Premier League is back Wednesday as international soccer kicks it up a notch," 16 June 2020 Crescent tools are made from the brand’s special blend Crestoloy steel for strength and durability, and the full polish chrome finish resists rust and corrosion for a long tool life. Chelsea Stone, CNN Underscored, "This on-sale Crescent tool set is a quick Father’s Day gift fix," 15 June 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for finish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for finish

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Finish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for finish


How to pronounce finish (audio)

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.

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