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 Urbani was the only runner to break the 20-minute mark, coming in at 18:54 to finish more than two minutes ahead. Jack Marrion, Chron, "Three new cross country champions emerge in Houston ISD," 27 Oct. 2020 Rinse, dry and set it back on the warm burner to finish drying. Marni Jameson | Contributing Writer,, "Now that you have the right pots and pans, here's how to take care of them," 27 Oct. 2020 Leading that veteran squad will be Hollingsworth, whom Stansbury said has the chance to finish his career as the program’s second all-time leading scorer. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "2020 Kentucky Mr. Basketball Dayvion McKnight is 'way ahead of the curve' at WKU," 27 Oct. 2020 Manalaysay was down here with a crew of graduate students, working over several months to finish assembling all of LZ’s thousands of component parts, which took up nearly all the room. Ryan Bradley, Popular Science, "Glimpse the gold mine where scientists are searching for dark matter," 27 Oct. 2020 South Dearborn lost 47-26 to Greenwood in 4A to finish 4-5. James Weber, The Enquirer, "What we learned from Week 9 high school football in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky," 27 Oct. 2020 With an anti-slip grip, faux fur lining and water-resistant (note: not waterproof) finish, more than 1,500 reviewers have raved about these for their warmth and support for comfortable wear all day. Lauren Caruso, CNN Underscored, "20 under-$150 boots to buy before they sell out," 27 Oct. 2020 Before the season, when the Hogs were picked to finish last in the SEC West and to go winless by some websites, most Razorback fans hoped to see a team more respectable. Wally Hall, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | WALLY HALL: It's been too long," 19 Oct. 2020 But even against a Georgia Tech team picked to finish last in the ACC, Louisville looked flat and sloppy in a 46-27 loss to fall to 0-3 in the league. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Shocking transformation for defending national champ LSU makes fans wonder how bad it will get," 12 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Josiah Small and Levi Schultz provided Pea Ridge with a one-two finish as Small won in 18:32.9 while Levi Schedult was second at 18:56.2. Henry Apple, Arkansas Online, "Loafman, Mayberry capture 6A-West solo titles," 28 Oct. 2020 Talismanic striker Karim Benzema dragged one back for his side with an acrobatic finish before Brazilian Casemiro fired into the roof of the net in stoppage time to tie the scores 2-2. Ben Church, CNN, "Last-minute drama as Real Madrid avoids yet another defeat in the Champions League," 27 Oct. 2020 Flair signature espresso maker in stainless steel with a chrome finish, $254. Kara Nelson | Contributing Writer,, "Coffee the old-fashioned way, all done by hand for maximum flavor," 27 Oct. 2020 Much of that deficit came from Dixon's three consecutive wins to start 2020 at Texas, Indianapolis and Elkart Lake, along with a runner-up finish in the Indy 500 and his fourth win of the year at WWT Raceway. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Despite Josef Newgarden's victory, Scott Dixon holds on for Ganassi driver's sixth IndyCar title," 26 Oct. 2020 Much of that deficit came from Dixon's three consecutive wins to start 2020 at Texas, Indianapolis and Elkart Lake, along with a runner-up finish in the Indy 500 and his fourth win of the year at WWT Raceway. Nathan Brown, USA TODAY, "Scott Dixon wins 6th IndyCar title; Josef Newgarden comes up short despite winning season finale," 25 Oct. 2020 Another Fort Lauderdale power, St. Thomas Aquinas, extended its 31-year run (1990-2020) with a district runner-up finish last week. Buddy Collings,, "Geneva success story, career wins, region news | Volleyball Report," 20 Oct. 2020 The Mighty Tigers put another check in the loss column with a 0-5 finish against Windham High School. Melanie Savage,, "Windham Tech girls’ soccer experiences up and down first half of season," 19 Oct. 2020 All five Montague players finished in the top 16, with junior Orianna Bylsma leading with a top-five finish, and senior Megan Brown coming in eighth. Tom Lang, Detroit Free Press, "How girls pulled off a Michigan high school golf season during COVID-19," 17 Oct. 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

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Finish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 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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