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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fisher’s bravado toward Alabama suddenly seems long ago, however, for a program that failed to beat the two teams picked to finish last in the SEC West this season. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Oct. 2021 So, the Angels’ promotion folks finish in first place again. Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2021 The Tigers finish with a 77-85 record and possession of third place in the American League Central. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 3 Oct. 2021 Novak would finish the game 40-57 with five touchdowns. Wynn Mcdonald, The Enquirer, 2 Oct. 2021 Brady would finish the regular season completing 63.9% of his passes for 2,843 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 Spurs will finish October with a home match against Manchester United. Robert Kidd, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 But progressives are pushing for the Democratic caucus to first finish writing the $3.5 trillion measure, which could shrink due to the moderates' wishes. Alex Rogers, CNN, 25 Sep. 2021 Nakashima, 20, is currently ranked 85th, up from 166th to finish last year. San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The hope at FC Cincinnati is that Albright will be able to fashion a similar kind of first-team turnaround after FCC finished last in MLS in 2019 and 2020, and is again at risk of a last place finish in 2021. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 5 Oct. 2021 Florida stumbled to the finish in 2020 and is on shaky footing five games into the 2021 season. Edgar Thompson,, 5 Oct. 2021 The wine includes crispness, tension, minerality and lingering acidity on the finish. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2021 The third will bring the six remaining teams together, kicking off a four-week run to the finish on Oct. 31. al, 29 Sep. 2021 The Beavers routinely get through and put on some heat, but often miss the finish in putting the quarterback on the ground. oregonlive, 25 Sep. 2021 Indeed, the intended flavors do come through on the palate of Raceking, and particularly on the finish where rich dark cocoa notes intermingle with a lingering spiciness. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 24 Sep. 2021 Bullock’s classmates led the big crowd to the finish line at Williams Street, with Ryan Frampton the first to pass through the finish arch in 19 minutes. Bill Blewett,, 23 Sep. 2021 However, the Diamondbacks are stumbling toward the finish and could surpass the 2004 club for the most losses in a season in team history. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 22 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About finish

Time Traveler for finish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near finish

finis coronat opus



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for finish

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 : end conclusion
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on finish

Nglish: Translation of finish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of finish for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about finish


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!