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 Similarly, human grammar allows a vast number of sentences to be made from a finite number of rules. The Economist, "How to talk to aliens," 28 Nov. 2019 Many would argue that capitalism, which is predicated on growth, can’t solve the problems of a planet with finite resources. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Can Apple keep growing without extracting anything more from the earth?," 12 Dec. 2019 But what really enrages people, more than just drawing down a finite community resource, is who’s doing it., "In western Arizona, corporate megafarms turn water into profits, leaving small towns in the dust," 5 Dec. 2019 Like previous records, these ones were accomplished using a complex algorithm called the Number Field Sieve, which can be used to perform both integer factoring and finite field discrete logarithms. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "New crypto-cracking record reached, with less help than usual from Moore’s Law," 3 Dec. 2019 To start, think about how a film gets edited together—typically, a director has shot a finite amount of footage, all with intent behind the images and often with some larger sequences in mind. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Night Has Come is remarkable work of genuine found-footage horror," 9 Nov. 2019 This makes sense, as these are consumable parts with finite use ranges. Alex Leanse, Popular Mechanics, "Here's How Car Maintenance Costs Increase With Mileage," 28 Nov. 2016 At the time, the tobacco economy relied on white and black indentured servants with finite contracts and some rights under the law. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How two centuries of slave revolts shaped American history," 8 Nov. 2019 On the math side, this news falls into the subject of Combinatorics, the study that includes large finite calculations of combinations and situations like this. Dave Linkletter, Popular Mechanics, "The Age-Old Sunflower Conjecture May Soon Be Solved," 27 Oct. 2019

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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Finite.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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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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

Comments on finite

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


to insert between existing elements

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