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

And with the arrival of graduate transfer quarterback Josh Jackson, a team that finished 121st among 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in passing last season with a paltry 141.3 yards a game is now 30th (301 yards per game). Don Markus,, "No. 21 Maryland football’s fast start fueled by confident offense: ‘We’ve known we could do this for a long time’," 13 Sep. 2019 Harvard-Westlake then pulled closer on a 65-yard scoring pass play from Roderick to Brendan Kang, who finished with five catches for 93 yards and one score, on the final play of the third quarter as the home team trailed, 25-21. Andrew J. Campa, Burbank Leader, "Rare undefeated run continues for Burroughs football," 13 Sep. 2019 The Cardinals captured four of the top six spots, led by champion Koket Jimata, who finished the five-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 55.7 seconds. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire cross country sweeps home meet," 13 Sep. 2019 The game also featured standout play from goalkeeper Jake Fenlason, who finished with his seventh clean sheet this season. Cheryl Wray, al, "Legion FC faces crucial game at home Friday vs. Saint Louis FC," 12 Sep. 2019 Leitao is entering the fifth season of his second stint with the Blue Demons, who finished last season with their first winning record (19-17) since 2006-07. Shannon Ryan,, "DePaul and Dave Leitao are working on a multiyear contract extension, the university announces," 12 Sep. 2019 The Rangers, who finished 32-36-14 last year, open training camp today almost at even odds, according to Las Vegas sportsbooks, to qualify for the playoffs. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "NHL training camps open: Rangers are a sleeper, Justin Faulk on block, key RFAs still unsigned," 12 Sep. 2019 But, after being on top, the school was hit hard by the AIA's Executive Board for using an athlete who had finished his high school career in Canada and moved in and played football and basketball in 2017. Richard Obert, azcentral, "This small Arizona high school has state-of-the-art college-like facilities," 12 Sep. 2019 Harrison, who finished in Triple-A, will likely see time in Miami’s outfield next season. Wells Dusenbury,, "As struggles continue, fixing Lewis Brinson’s swing has been a ‘battle’ for Marlins," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And with a number of fantastic finishes and near comebacks, Week 2’s early slate of games was a reminder of exactly that. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "NFL Week 2 Games That Came Down to the Wire," 15 Sep. 2019 Cameron Smith Seems to have trouble getting up for these types of tournaments; routinely shows well in loaded WGC events, including his sixth-place finish at last year’s WGC-Mexico Championship. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier: Fantasy Golf Power Rankings," 10 Sep. 2019 After that, the shell shuttles into the painting booths and the waiting arms of robots, which apply three separate coats of color and clear finish. Stephen Williams, New York Times, "This Car Comes in Any Color You Want, So Long as It’s Valencia Red," 5 Sep. 2019 Note: Players who are waived are available to be claimed by NFL teams in reverse order of last year’s order of finish. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Raiders roster tracker: Who’s getting cut and why," 30 Aug. 2019 His finish included deep completions to TE Ross Dwelley and WR Jordan Matthews. Eric Branch,, "49ers’ practice report: Nick Bosa impresses in camp debut," 27 July 2019 Ultimately, Greinke has better numbers than some of the others that are in the Hall of Fame, and his likely finish near the top 20 all-time in strikeouts is very compelling. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "So Zack Greinke could be a Hall of Famer, and the Diamondbacks could trade him," 24 July 2019 The sophomore also helped the Tritons program to its best finish in the NCAA National Fencing Championship since 2008. Vincent Nguyen, Burbank Leader, "Burroughs grad Beihold’s talents stretch far beyond being All-American fencer," 19 July 2019 Mayfield’s rookie season did more than boost the Browns to their best finish in more than a decade. Scott Patsko,, "How Baker Mayfield changed everything: Series begins Monday," 19 July 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

17 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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