fi·​nite | \ ˈfī-ˌnīt How to pronounce finite (audio) \

Definition of finite

1a : 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
3a : 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"

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Other Words from finite

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”
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Recent Examples on the Web Like oil and natural gas, helium is a finite resource. Andrew E. Kramer New York Times, Star Tribune, "Big push into helium could have the world on Russia's string," 20 Dec. 2020 Like oil and natural gas, helium is a finite resource. New York Times, "Big Push Into Helium Could Have the World on Russia’s String," 8 Dec. 2020 Instead, costs skyrocketed because a finite resource was hoarded by a select few protected from competition by government regulation. James Mccarthy, National Review, "Why Do Business Reporters Hate Business?," 30 Nov. 2020 The finite stylistic touches gracing the doors, ceilings, a grand fireplace, and every nook and cranny were, simply put, beautiful. Sunset Magazine, "Sparkling New Resort in Mexico Offers a Pristine (& Safe) Beachside Escape," 30 Dec. 2020 Label sources point to the previous year, where cyclical trends in the release schedule led to finite periods of flatness. Will Page, Billboard, "Streaming Is Stalling: Can Music Keep Up in the Attention Economy?," 16 Dec. 2020 ICUs can surge beyond the number of licensed, staffed beds when needed, but the level of expansion is finite. Los Angeles Times, "Hospitals face tough choices as ICUs fill up with COVID-19 patients," 8 Dec. 2020 But now, with virtually every part of the country experiencing a surge — infecting medical professionals in the process — the competition for the finite number of available nurses is becoming more intense. Dallas News, "Some COVID-19 traveling nurses are making $8,000 a week," 4 Dec. 2020 Society has a finite amount of money available to allocate competing social needs, including health care. Richard Levy, STAT, "Extending health care to all ethically and practically: lessons from Covid-19," 3 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of finite

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

History and Etymology for finite

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

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Time Traveler for finite

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for finite

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce finite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of finite

: 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)


fi·​nite | \ ˈfī-ˌnīt How to pronounce finite (audio) \

Kids Definition of finite

: having definite limits I was given a finite number of choices.

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