Definition of finite
1a : having definite or definable limits a finite number of possibilitiesb : having a limited nature or existence finite beings
2 : completely determinable in theory or in fact by counting, measurement, or thought the finite velocity of light
3a : less than an arbitrary positive integer and greater than the negative of that integerb : having a finite number of elements a finite set
4 : of, relating to, or being a verb or verb form that can function as a predicate or as the initial element of one and that is limited (as in tense, person, and number) finite verbs such as “is” and “are”
Examples of finite in a Sentence
a finite number of possibilities
the earth's finite supply of natural resources
the finite human life span
a finite verb such as “is” or “are”
Recent Examples of finite from the Web
Many are hoping the current era is but a blip, a finite period that will end at the end of Trump’s term, not the beginning of a fundamental shift.
That popularity might be a product of people’s natural limitations: in the face of a flood of information and finite attention, poor quality discrimination ends up being a virtual certainty.
Like my laptop or iPhone (or Donald Trump), crystals contain a finite amount of energy and need to be recharged when depleted.
Opponents of including immigrant students or U.S. citizen children of immigrants in state college-aid programs argue that finite resources and coveted seats in public colleges should be reserved for those who are in the country legally.
Why was the first holiness finite and the second eternal?
Which is to say, Sarah’s life had grown finite, William’s had not.
This is hardly the place to expend America’s finite national anxiety.
Political intrigue in the nation's capital is sucking up oxygen and commanding the mainstream media's finite resources.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finite'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
FINITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of finite for English Language Learners
: having limits : having a limited nature
grammar : of or relating to a verb form that shows action that takes place at a particular time (such as the past)
FINITE Defined for Kids
Definition of finite for Students
: having definite limits I was given a finite number of choices.
Word Root of finite
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.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up finite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).