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 Officials are working on plans to sustain the pay increase, knowing the federal funds are finite. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Oct. 2021 And because the funding pie is finite — 2% of our economy — the incentive is to be risk averse. Diana Tsai, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021 Summer is finite, but in an increasingly unsentimental world, there’s something to be said for refusing to let a good thing die away just because Labor Day has come and gone. Tres Dean, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021 There’s finite film to be reviewed on each quarterback, with McCloud’s two years at USF by far the most vast to reference. oregonlive, 23 Sep. 2021 But looking back at Earth from there, the atmosphere seems thin and the world finite. Naledi Ushe,, 21 Sep. 2021 But the truth is modern computers, no matter how powerful, also have a finite capacity of processing an excess of information. Gary Fowler, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Under Spotify’s divide-one-pie payout model, there’s a finite pool of money for artists that comes in from the streamer’s ads-and-subscriptions revenue, and each act’s allocation is determined by his or her fraction of overall plays. Elias Leight, Rolling Stone, 14 Sep. 2021 Jacky Levy, the costume designer, goes toe to toe with the writers in the sense that the finite details throughout are so clever. Alicia Lutes, Vulture, 11 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near finite



finite canon

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of finite

: having limits : having a limited nature
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on finite

Nglish: Translation of finite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of finite for Arabic Speakers


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