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

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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

The guy who gets hot and stays hot will be the guy who will finish the game. Brian Howell, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs football position preview: Running backs lack experience, but not talent," 17 July 2019 The RubberDucks, who will be finishing a seven-game road trip, will be play at Harford on July 27. Marc Bona,, "‘The Secret Life of Pets’ to be aired at Canal Park," 16 July 2019 Pacers missed the postseason last season after finishing 5-9. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Pacers Gaming clinches playoff berth with win over Nets GC," 20 July 2019 After finishing out of the top four as a freshman last year, Magic Prize has qualified to the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes and won twice this year. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Racing! A difficult morning at Del Mar," 19 July 2019 After finishing at Bayern and prior to moving to England, Van Gaal got a second chance to lead the Dutch national team., "Louis van Gaal: The Stubborn Master Who Won 15 Major Trophies at 4 of the World's Greatest Clubs," 18 July 2019 After finishing 4-8 last season – a two-game upgrade – coach Lovie Smith told reporters Thursday at Big Ten media day that the Illini could be a conference surprise. Shannon Ryan,, "Who will be a Big Ten surprise this season? ‘We plan on that being us,’ says Illinois coach Lovie Smith," 18 July 2019 After finishing 10th in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 23 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Larson was runner-up to winner Alex Bowman in the Camping World 400 June 30 at Chicagoland Speedway. Brandon Chase,, "Kyle Larson looks to steady his season at New Hampshire," 17 July 2019 Costanzo said after finishing the afternoon with three straight wins. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Leonard Takahashi, Finn Tapper lead fleet on first day of Governor’s Cup," 16 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.

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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

23 Jul 2019

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 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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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).


something desired as essential

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