Meaning of FINE in English

I. fine 1 S1 W1 /faɪn/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: French ; Origin: fin , from Latin finire ; ⇨ ↑ finish 1 ]

1 . ACCEPTABLE [not before noun] especially spoken satisfactory or acceptable SYN OK :

‘We’re meeting at 8.30.’ ‘Okay, fine.’

looks/seems/sounds fine

In theory, the scheme sounds fine.

If you want to use cheese instead of chicken, that’s fine.

‘Do you want chili sauce on it?’ ‘No, it’s fine as it is, thanks.’

I’m fine (thanks/thank you) spoken (=used when telling someone that you do not want any more when they offer you something)

‘More coffee?’ ‘No, I’m fine, thanks.’

that’s fine by me/that’s fine with me etc spoken (=used when saying that you do not mind about something)

If Scott wanted to keep his life secret, that was fine by her.

2 . HEALTHY in good health SYN OK :

‘How are you?’ ‘Fine, thanks, how are you?’

I feel fine, really.

3 . VERY GOOD [usually before noun] very good or of a very high standard:

Many people regard Beethoven’s fifth symphony as his finest work.

He’s a very fine player.

It’s a fine idea.

Hatfield House is a fine example of Jacobean architecture.

The restaurant was chosen for its good food and fine wines.

4 . WEATHER bright and not raining:

If it’s fine tomorrow we’ll go out.

a fine day/morning/evening

I hope it stays fine for you.

5 . NARROW very thin or narrow:

Fine needles are inserted in the arm.

a fine thread

very fine hairs

6 . DELICATE [usually before noun] attractive, neat, and delicate:

fine china

Her dark hair accentuates her fine features (=nose, eyes, cheeks etc) .


a) fine details, changes, differences etc are very small and therefore difficult to understand or notice:

We stayed up discussing the finer points of Marxist theory.

b) in small grains, pieces, or drops:

A fine drizzle started falling.

a mixture of fine and coarse breadcrumbs

c) fine material is made so that the spaces between the threads are very small:

fine netting

scarlet cloth with a very fine weave

8 . BAD [only before noun] especially spoken used humorously to say that someone or something is bad in some way:

That’s another fine mess (=bad situation) he’s got himself into.

You’re a fine one to talk (=you are criticizing someone for something you do yourself) .

9 . SPEECH/WORDS sounding important and impressive, but probably not true or honest:

Only time will tell whether these fine sentiments will translate into action.

10 . a fine man/woman etc a good person that you respect:

Your father is a fine man, a real gentleman.

11 . a fine line between something and something if you say that there is a fine line between two different things, you mean that they are so similar that one can easily become the other:

There’s a fine line between bravery and recklessness.

12 . get something down to a fine art to practise something so often that you become very skilled at it:

Mike had got the breakfast routine down to a fine art.

13 . not to put too fine a point on it informal used when you are criticizing something in a plain and direct way:

That wasn't the best meal I've ever had, not to put too fine a point on it.

14 . finer feelings someone’s finer feelings are the moral values they have, such as love, honour, loyalty etc:

You can hardly expect such finer feelings in a thief.

15 . a fine figure of a man/woman literary someone who looks big, strong, and physically attractive:

In his portrait, Donlevy is a fine figure of a man.

16 . sb’s finest hour a time when someone is very successful, brave etc:

The tournament proved to be Gascoigne’s finest hour.

⇨ chance would be a fine thing at ↑ chance 1 (12)

II. fine 2 S3 BrE AmE adverb

1 . especially spoken in a way that is satisfactory or acceptable:

‘How’s it going?’ ‘Fine, thanks.’

The dress fitted me fine.

If I had a good job and my boyfriend stayed at home, that’d suit me fine (=be very acceptable to me) .

2 . do fine spoken

a) to be satisfactory or acceptable:

‘Something very light,’ he ordered. ‘An omelette will do fine.’

b) to do something well or in a satisfactory way:

Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. Keep at it.

c) to be healthy and well:

‘How’s your husband?’ ‘He’s doing fine, thank you.’

3 . if you cut something fine, you cut it into very small or very thin pieces SYN finely

4 . cut it/things fine informal to leave yourself only just enough time to do something

III. fine 3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

to make someone pay money as a punishment

fine somebody for (doing) something

She was fined for speeding.

fine somebody £200/$500 etc

The club was fined £50,000 for financial irregularities.

• • •


▪ punish to do something unpleasant to someone because they have done something wrong or broken the law:

Drug smugglers are severely punished.


She wanted to punish him for deceiving her.

▪ fine to make someone pay money as a punishment:

The company was fined for safety violations.

▪ sentence if a judge sentences a criminal, he or she gives them an official punishment, usually sending them to prison for a period of time:

The judge sentenced Margolis to a year in prison.

▪ penalize ( also penalise British English ) to officially punish someone, especially by taking away their right to do something or by limiting their freedom in some way:

New laws will penalize firms that continue to pollute the environment.

▪ discipline to punish someone who has broken the rules of an organization that they belong to or work for:

Officers are expected to discipline soldiers who do not keep their uniforms in good condition.

▪ come down hard on somebody informal to punish someone or criticize them severely:

The judge came down hard on Harris, saying that his crime was ‘inexcusable’.

▪ make an example of somebody to punish someone so that other people are afraid to do the same thing:

Athletics officials felt they had to make an example of him for using banned drugs.

▪ teach somebody a lesson informal to do something in order to show someone that they must not do something again, when they have behaved very badly:

I didn't want to hurt him - I just wanted teach him a lesson.


Maybe a night in jail will teach him a lesson.

▪ make somebody pay (for something) informal to make someone wish they had never done something, by making them suffer:

We should make him pay for all the mischief he's caused!

IV. fine 4 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: French ; Origin: fin , from Latin finis 'end' ]

money that you have to pay as a punishment:

a £40 fine

pay a fine/pay £100/$50 etc in fines

She was ordered to pay £150 in parking fines, plus court costs.

Councils will get sweeping powers to impose fines on drivers who park illegally.

heavy/hefty fine (=a large fine)

If convicted, the men face heavy fines.

• • •


▪ punishment something that is done in order to punish someone, or the act of punishing them:

I don’t think they deserved such a severe punishment.


The usual punishment is life in prison.

▪ sentence a punishment given by a judge in a court:

He was given a long prison sentence.


They asked for the maximum sentence.

▪ fine an amount of money that you must pay as a punishment:

I got an £80 fine for speeding.


There are heavy fines for drink-driving.

▪ penalty a general word for a punishment given to someone who has broken a law, rule, or agreement:

What’s the penalty if you get caught?


He called for stiffer penalties for crimes involving guns.

▪ the death penalty ( also capital punishment ) the system in which people are killed as a punishment for crimes:

If he is found guilty, he faces the death penalty.


A number of states have abolished capital punishment.

▪ community service unpaid work helping other people that someone does as punishment for a crime:

He was given a choice between doing 200 hours of community service, or a big fine.

▪ corporal punishment the punishment of children by hitting them:

I don’t agree with corporal punishment.


Corporal punishment was abolished in schools in 1987.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.