fin·ish | \ˈfi-nish \
finished; finishing; finishes

Definition of finish 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to come to an end : terminate The meeting finished at noon.

b : end sense 1b

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

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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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Long after this month's trade frenzy is finished, and likely long into the organizational rebuild the Orioles are about to begin, Tanner Scott will still be here. Jon Meoli,, "Tanner Scott can't close the door, and Orioles open series with 5-4 loss to Rangers," 14 July 2018 And one of those strengths has been finishing off batters in two-strike counts. Dave Melton, Post-Tribune, "Mr. Happy Go Lucky: Metea Valley grad Christian Howell keeps it loose and throws strikes for Northwest Indiana Oilmen," 14 July 2018 Morse, a former budget analyst with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, ended up finishing second to McClintock in the primary, with Bateson coming in third. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Democrats push for unity in California House races after bruising primary," 13 July 2018 Three bold predictions ▪ Peppers won’t finish with double-digit sacks again. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Is a Panthers defensive line with 3 Pro Bowlers and Julius Peppers underappreciated?," 12 July 2018 Rinus Veekay won the race, while Carlos Cunha finished runner-up ahead of Raul Guzman. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Pro Mazda driver Harrison Scott OK after scary crash," 14 July 2018 Elections officials continued recounting ballots Friday in the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive, with hopes of finishing the recount on Saturday. Pamela Wood,, "Day 2 of recount in Baltimore County executive Democrat primary opens with Olszewski lead at 10 votes," 13 July 2018 Local police chief Rashid Khan says candidate Akram Khan Durrani had just finished his speech when the bomb exploded near his rally on Friday. Fox News, "The Latest: Bomb explodes near Pakistan pol's election rally," 13 July 2018 Yarmolenko was limited to playing in 18 out of Dortmund's 34 Bundesliga matches, finishing the season with six goals in 26 appearances in all competitions., "New West Ham Signing Reveals Excitement at Premier League Arrival After Tough Time With Dortmund," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And gambling industry lobbyists have been working hard in the state Legislature for the last few years to convince legislators that the time has come for the live racing requirement to come to its finish — permanently. Anne Geggis,, "Florida's last harness racing track revels in decades of memories," 12 July 2018 Gamay Noir has only a modest tannic payload; its featherweighted finish makes the front end that much more of a headlong rush of movement, broad and forward-leaning, a starburst of flavor. Patrick Comiskey,, "Why you should be drinking Gamay Noir this summer," 11 July 2018 His finish at the back post off a cross from midfielder Aaron Kovar put LAFC up 2-0. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City falls 4-1 at LAFC, extends MLS losing streak," 9 July 2018 His best finish in seven starts has been a third place. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "If you're 15 and looking to make it in the stock-car world, it's great to be Sam Mayer," 2 July 2018 After putting on a Sabres jersey Friday night, the 18-year-old will jump to the NHL right away and should help the club's league-worst offense that contributed to its last-place finish. Stephen Whyno, Houston Chronicle, "Sabres select Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin first overall," 22 June 2018 The Stevenson men captured both the Middle Atlantic Conference indoor and outdoor championships, while the Mustangs women placed second at both meets, their highest finish., "Digest (June 21): Bel Air's Kieran McDermott named state's best boys track and field athlete," 21 June 2018 Also on hand for the competition was Giudice’s brother Joe Gorga, who helped cheer his sister on to her impressive finish. Maria Pasquini,, "Teresa Giudice 'Lost a Bunch of Weight' in 'Extreme' Training for Bodybuilding Competition: Source," 10 June 2018 Veterans Valarie Allman and Vanessa Fraser lead the Stanford women to their best finish in program history. Ken Goe,, "Some big names in action today in the Portland Track Festival: Oregon track & field rundown," 10 June 2018

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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Statistics for finish

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for finish

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

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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 \
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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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