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”
Did You Know?
It has come as a shock to many of us to realize that resources such as oil--and the atmosphere's ability to absorb greenhouse gases--are finite rather than unlimited. The debate continues as to whether the universe is finite or infinite and, if it's finite, how to think about what lies beyond it. Religion has always concerned itself with the question of the finite (that is, human life on earth) versus the infinite (God, eternity, and infinity). But finite is mostly used in scientific writing, often with the meaning "definitely measurable".
Origin and Etymology of finite
Middle English finit, from Latin finitus, past participle of finire —see 1finish
First Known Use: 15th century
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
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