1

finish

verb fin·ish \ ˈfi-nish \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of finish

intransitive verb
1 a :to come to an end :terminate
  • The meeting finished at noon.
b :end 1b
2 a :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
1 a :to bring to an end :terminate
  • finished the speech and sat down
b :to use or dispose of entirely
  • her sandwich finished the loaf
2 a :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
3 a :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.

finisher

noun

Examples of finish in a Sentence

  1. You can't watch TV until you finish your homework.

  2. He started his homework two hours ago and he still hasn't finished.

  3. They hope to finish their new home by winter.

  4. They're building a new home and they hope to finish by winter.

  5. The chairman finished the meeting at noon.

  6. The meeting finished on a positive note.

Recent Examples of finish from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of finish

Middle English finisshen, from Anglo-French finiss-, stem of finir, from Latin finire, from finis — see 1fine

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

finish

noun

Definition of finish

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)
2 a :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

Examples of finish in a Sentence

  1. a suspense film with a perfect surprise finish

  2. The table had a shiny finish.

  3. I need to put one more coat of finish on the chair.

Recent Examples of finish from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of finish

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FINISH Defined for English Language Learners

finish

verb

Definition of finish for English Language Learners

  • : 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


finish

noun

Definition of finish for English Language Learners

  • : the last part of something

  • : the final coating on a surface or the appearance produced by such a coating


FINISH Defined for Kids

1

finish

verb fin·ish \ ˈfi-nish \

Definition of finish for Students

finished; finishing
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.

Word Root of finish

The Latin word finis, meaning “end” or “boundary,” gives us the root fin. Words from the Latin finis have something to do with ends or limits. Something final, such as the last chapter in a book, is the ending one. To confine is to put limits or boundaries around something. To finish something is to come to its end. Something finite has limits and happens only for a certain amount of time or in a certain space before it ends.


2

finish

noun

Definition of finish for Students

1 :1end 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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