fi·​nite | \ ˈfī-ˌnīt \

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

Be reasonable Bookshops might seem an endless trove, but our range is finite. Constance Grady, Vox, "Victorian literature was full of lady detectives," 15 Dec. 2018 Intel, in other words, has many demanding customers competing for a finite amount of manufacturing capacity. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Intel’s Shortages Chip Away at Micron," 21 Sep. 2018 Still, while people may now be more interested in Welsh gold, there's still a finite amount in the world, and thus chances are slim that all those people will actually be able to get their hands on a ring like Meghan's—Markle Effect or not. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Meghan Markle's Wedding Ring Has Reportedly Caused a Boost in Interest in Welsh Gold," 28 Aug. 2018 To wit: The world’s countries have long been trapped in a corrupt struggle for finite resources that has carried untold colonialist oppression and ecological ruin in its wake. David Roberts, Vox, "Putting a dollar value on one of oil’s biggest subsidies: military protection," 21 Sep. 2018 Perhaps even products specifically aimed at pregnancy, this finite state. Meaghan O'connell, The Cut, "Pregnancy-Specific Beauty Products Might Seem Ridiculous," 1 June 2018 But with convenience comes boredom, and a sudden, panicked awareness of your finite amount of time here, here being anywhere. Bridget Read, Vogue, "She Would Have Loved This," 26 Oct. 2018 Another approach to getting the most out of finite computer resources involves making alterations to the equation of motion, rather than, or in addition to, altering the computational grid. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Sometime in the age of social media that’s completely flipped around, where attention is your last finite resource. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Social media makes us angry and unfocused. Is email the answer?," 6 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for finite

Last Updated

28 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for finite

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of finite

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on finite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for finite

Spanish Central: Translation of finite

Nglish: Translation of finite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of finite for Arabic Speakers

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