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

In July, researchers finished an eight year project to sequence the reptile’s genome. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Komodo Dragons Have Skin That Looks Like Chain Mail," 17 Sep. 2019 Means finished Monday’s outing with a 3.65 ERA in 143 innings, the first American League rookie to reach both marks since Detroit’s Michael Fulmer in 2016. Nathan Ruiz,, "Tigers unsettle Orioles’ John Means, split four-game series with 5-2 victory," 17 Sep. 2019 But in July this year, the Nature Conservancy finished transferring the remaining fishing rights to community trusts at four California fishing ports, which can sell the quota back to local fishermen. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Gov. Newsom has some decisions to make," 16 Sep. 2019 On Sunday, when injuries knocked out two receivers, Hill finished the game as the third receiver. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Roethlisberger, Brees injuries shake up NFL playoff races, force hard look at the future," 16 Sep. 2019 Siemian finished 3 of 6 for 3 yards, while Falk was 20 of 25 for 198 yards as the Jets lost their seventh straight at home, dating to last season. oregonlive, "Odell Beckham, Jr. powers the Cleveland Browns to the win over the New York Jets: Recap, score, stats and more," 16 Sep. 2019 Mitchell finished second in the WNBA with 79 3-pointers this season. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Fever have young assets, hope to add No. 1 pick to accelerate rebuild," 16 Sep. 2019 The slam finished a win the Tigers had control of for seven innings, until rookie righty Bryan Garcia — who was impressive otherwise — made a mistake to Trey Mancini, which resulted in Mancini’s 32nd home run of the season and an Orioles’ lead. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers give sparse crowd thrills, win on John Hicks' grand slam in 12 innings," 15 Sep. 2019 Erik Jones had an earlier mechanical issue and finished four spots higher in 36th. Jenna Fryer,, "Martin Truex Jr. races into 2nd round with victory in opening NASCAR playoff race," 15 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s an herbal, grassy finish here that belies the malt and zaps away some heft., "Here are the two Oktoberfest beers our columnist is drinking in 2019 - The Boston Globe," 17 Sep. 2019 Fort Lauderdale’s Ryan Rosenbaum had an impressive first-place finish (25:52) in the Men’s 18-24 age group. Emmett Hall,, "Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters Team enjoys whirlwind competitive summer," 12 Sep. 2019 The overwhelming first impression is of a vinous tartness, but this gives way to a juicy mid-palate and an appealingly dry finish. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, "OktoberWest: Where San Diego celebrates this beer-soaked tradition," 12 Sep. 2019 At Chanel’s Resort 2020 show in Paris this summer, many of the models sported bold, nearly-black lips swiped with an extra-glossy finish. Kristen Bateman, Allure, "The Most Wearable Ways to Try Black Lipstick," 10 Sep. 2019 Mercer stays hot Mercer’s RBI single in the sixth cut Baltimore’s lead in half, and offered another look at what has been an outstanding finish to the season at the plate for him. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "In matchup of historic losing, Detroit Tigers bested by Baltimore Orioles, 6-2," 4 Sep. 2019 For an extra luscious finish, both rosehip and sea buckthorn oils contain fatty acids and vitamin C to soothe and brighten, respectively. Chloe Metzger And Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "The Best Face Oil for Every Single Skin Type," 29 Aug. 2019 To elevate Cardi’s gilded fingernails, Cardi’s longtime nail artist Jenni Bui of New York’s Nails On 7th, added an ombre finish with OPI’s Chrome Effects powder. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Here's How To Get Cardi B's VMA Nails," 27 Aug. 2019 Ridder relieved struggling starter Hayden Moore during Cincinnati’s third series and never let go of the job for the rest of the season, leading the Bearcats to an 11-2 finish that included a victory over Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "UCLA begins game week preparations early as season officially starts on Thursday," 24 Aug. 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

15 Oct 2019

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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

What made you want to look up finish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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