finite

adjective

fi·​nite ˈfī-ˌnīt How to pronounce finite (audio)
1
a
: having definite or definable limits
a finite number of possibilities
b
: 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
3
a
: less than an arbitrary positive integer and greater than the negative of that integer
b
: 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"
finite noun
finitely adverb
finiteness noun

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 on the Web Time is finite and as your list of demands grows, your time often yields diminishing returns. Andrew Deutscher, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 Russia’s presence in Ukraine, its potential to mobilize, and its industrial base are large but finite. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Foreign Affairs, 17 Jan. 2024 Resources are finite, even in large companies, and there’s no point in raging at a brick wall. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 There is a finite amount of money to address cleanup each year and a shallow groundwater table in our area complicates remedial efforts. Patrick Ceres, Orlando Sentinel, 8 Jan. 2024 In a world of finite resources, policymakers will have to make tough choices about what to allocate, where, and for how long. Michael Poznansky, Foreign Affairs, 5 Jan. 2024 But the rising cost of housing, a lack of affordable homes and finite resources often leave leaders with limited options concerning who to aid. Blake Nelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Jan. 2024 However, many of these resources are finite or nonrenewable, and the extraction of such materials can be harmful to the environment. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 In a world of finite resources, policymakers must come to terms with painful tradeoffs between these twin goals. Michael Poznansky, Foreign Affairs, 5 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'finite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, borrowed from Latin fīnītus "specific, definite, having bounds or limits," from past participle of fīnīre "to mark out the boundaries, limit, put an end to, bring to a close" — more at finish entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of finite was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near finite

Cite this Entry

“Finite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/finite. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

finite

adjective
fi·​nite ˈfī-ˌnīt How to pronounce finite (audio)
1
: having certain limits : limited in scope or nature : not infinite
2
: limited in grammatical person and number
a finite verb
finitely adverb
finiteness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on finite

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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