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

At film premieres, celebrities often favor simple—but towering!—stilettos to give their evening dresses that elegant finishing touch. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Margot Robbie Has a Practical Antidote to Killer Red Carpet Heels," 3 Dec. 2018 Now, Hawking's collaborators are left to finish tabulating whether those particles could store enough information to dodge the conflict with quantum mechanics. Sarah Lewin,, "Stephen Hawking's Children and Colleagues Discuss Physicist's Final Book, Legacy," 17 Oct. 2018 DelBianco finished her debut novel, Rough Animals, while living with her 88-year-old grandma in the months after graduation., "How Rae DelBianco Went From Cattle Farmer To Bookstagram Queen To Literary Darling — All By 25," 13 July 2018 The Senate race in Florida called for a hand recount, which finished at noon on Sunday. Hope Reese, Vox, "A historian on our broken election system: “it’s run by people with stake in the outcome”," 21 Nov. 2018 Following whirlwind visits to Australia, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finishing out their tour of the Oceania region in New Zealand. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Arrived in New Zealand Wearing a Plaid Trench and a Poppy Pin," 27 Oct. 2018 The Sabah report came as Turkish crime-scene investigators finished an overnight search of both the consul general's residence and a second search of the consulate itself. Suzan Fraser, Fox News, "Man linked to Saudi prince at consulate when writer vanished," 18 Oct. 2018 Brochin, who finished second, requested a recount of all 87,222 paper ballots, which began Thursday. Pamela Wood,, "Baltimore County Democrats spent nearly $1.7M on TV ads in primary," 14 July 2018 The gist: After their lame attempts fail to drive out the humans now living in their home, two mild-mannered ghosts enlist an annoying demon named Beetlejuice to finish the job. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The finish of these headphones is really pleasant to the touch, and that’s complemented by soft memory foam pads that seem to melt around the ear. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Microsoft Surface Headphones review: all the style without the polish," 15 Nov. 2018 And the finish is between matte and shiny — imagine the same natural effect a great tinted moisturizer can achieve for your skin, but for your hair. Stephanie Saltzman, Allure, "The 13 Best Dry Texture Sprays for Perfect Model-Off-Duty Hair," 13 Sep. 2018 At the finish, Thomas let out a loud scream and held his arms out wide in celebration. Andrew Dampf, Fox News, "Thomas effectively seals his 1st Tour de France title," 28 July 2018 Truex dominated the closing portion of the Pocono 400 and left Harvick and Busch in territory virtually unknown to them, putting Busch third and Harvick fourth at the finish. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Hembree: Truex Jr. wins at Pocono, looks to make NASCAR Cup Series a three-driver race," 3 June 2018 Interior renovations adorned the home with fresh paint, flooring and modern finishes, including a kitchen with new cabinets, appliances and countertops. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Orland Park's 'first and oldest' home is on the market," 2 July 2018 Milwaukee scored twice in the eighth to pull within 4-3, and with the Brewers down to their final strike, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun took Dominic Leone deep on consecutive pitches for a wild, remarkable finish. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ranking the Brewers' 14 walk-off wins against the St. Louis Cardinals," 25 June 2018 Given that Charlie is a natural light brunette, the total process from start to finish (which likely consisted of bleach, toner, and color) can easily add up to hours in the colorist's chair. Leah Prinzivalli, Teen Vogue, "Charlie Puth Dyes His Hair Platinum Blonde," 25 June 2018 Belgium’s previous best finish at the World Cup was fourth, but the team outplayed England in the midfield to go one better this time. James Ellingsworth,, "Belgium claims third place at World Cup," 14 July 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

10 Dec 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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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

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a nest or breeding place

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