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

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 Without a private-sector advocate, the plan would cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars and take decades to finish. Natalie Walters, Dallas News, 4 June 2021 One way to help finish your Battle Pass and level up your skins for those high-level metallic skin styles is to tackle the Foreshadowing Challenges released late in the season. Erik Kain, Forbes, 4 June 2021 In that event, the winner would be determined by: 1) most sets won; 2) most individual games won; and 3) 10-point super tiebreaker match between participants of whichever match was last to finish., 3 June 2021 Three years later, Janik, a senior catcher and Illinois commit, is a captain for Wauconda (13-12, 13-5), which will finish in the top three in the Northern Lake County Conference and play Antioch at home in a Class 3A regional semifinal on Friday. Nick Frazier,, 2 June 2021 By then, many SPAC teams could be desperate to finish deals before their deadlines and make generous offers. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, 1 June 2021 Previously, Jerry Gruszewski, senior partner of construction with Premier Development, told that the aim was to finish and have tenants occupy the new building by the end of 2021. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 1 June 2021 But simply qualifying for the 64-team tournament is an accomplishment for the Tide, which was picked to finish last in the west division of the SEC’s preseason poll. Mike Rodak |, al, 31 May 2021 In the girls game, Mission Hills overcame a fourth-quarter deficit and edged San Marcos 45-40 to finish 10-0 in league play and move to 20-5 overall. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Confident from start to finish, Malone overcame a nervous mistake on parallel bars to post a two-day total of 170.700 and stamp himself as the new standard-bearer for the men’s program with the Summer Games just seven weeks away. Will Graves,, 6 June 2021 Liberty used an assortment of pitchers to effectively bridge the gap from start to finish. Ryan Morse,, 4 June 2021 The design process takes about four years from start to finish. WSJ, 4 June 2021 When the mob was forced out of the Capitol, Congress returned to finish counting the electoral votes in the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 June 2021 McCarthy will coach this team from start to finish in 2021. David Moore, Dallas News, 2 June 2021 Most passive investors invest their money with syndicators, funds or REITs and let professional companies manage the assets from start to finish. Ellie Perlman, Forbes, 1 June 2021 This dough takes about a day and a half from start to finish, but is so worth it. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 1 June 2021 That is, while a conventional vehicle will emit 40 tonnes from start to finish, an EV will still emit 20. Jordan Mcgillis, National Review, 31 May 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.

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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

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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