Meaning of FINISH in English

I. ˈfinish, -nēsh, chiefly in pres part -nəsh verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

Etymology: Middle English finisshen, from Middle French feniss-, finiss-, stem of fenir, finir, from Latin finire to limit, finish, end, from finis boundary, limit, end — more at final

transitive verb


a. : to bring to an end : arrive at the end of : terminate , complete

he finished speaking, and a long silence fell

he finished his days in poverty and loneliness

a rapid reader, he can finish a chapter in a few minutes

b. : to use, consume, or dispose of entirely

he finished the meal to the last crumb — Louis Bromfield

— often used with off

the sailors lounging in the bar began to finish off their drinks — Allen Upward

c. : to serve as the close or last item of

a pleasant wine finishes the meal, nicely accenting the dessert

a thrilling 100-yard dash finished the meet


a. : to expend the final labors on : bring to completion or issue

tried to finish the work his illustrious predecessor had started

b. : to perform completely : perfect with all possible labor and attention : give the ultimate touches to

he always spoke in completed sentences … he finished his thought — W.A.White

— often used with up

advised him to finish up the painting a little before exhibiting

c. : to complete the education of ; especially : to prepare (a young woman) for entrance into society

she received her finishing in Paris

d. : to fatten (an animal) especially for the market

e. : to put on as a finish

all interior walls are finished with lime plaster — American Guide Series: Minnesota

f. : to cut, sort, trim, count, and pack (paper after it leaves the paper machine)

g. : to tool the title and decoration on (a hand-bound book)


(1) : to give (as cloth) special characteristics that improve appearance and usefulness by processing (as mercerizing, fulling, calendering, embossing)

(2) : to complete work on (a garment) ; especially : to finish (a raw edge) by hemming, pinking, overcasting, facing

i. : to subject (newly formed soap or a kettle of soap) to the processes of fitting and settling


a. : to bring to an end the significance, usefulness, or effectiveness of : exhaust the power, worth, or vitality of : deal a mortal blow to

the combination of … unfamiliar car, narrow streets, and strange town will just about finish you — Richard Joseph

his stunning defeat finished the young congressman as a political force

— often used with off

the romance of chivalry was already moribund and the new economic and social trends finished it off


(1) : to bring about the death of : kill

after wounding me with his spear he was about to finish me with his knife — W.H.Hudson †1922

— often used with off

his woman finished him off … with a skinning knife — Walter O'Meara

(2) : to bring about the decisive or final defeat of

the cavalry charge finished the enemy; they broke and ran

intransitive verb


a. : to come to an end : terminate , end

the Civil War finished in 1865

until British rule finished one had to obtain a visa from the British Foreign Office — W.B.Fisher


(1) : to come to the end of a course, task, or undertaking : complete a task or assignment

it was noon, and he still had not finished

he finished by reciting a cycle of sonnets

I shall finish with a Chopin nocturne — Lillian Hellman

— often used with up

you can finish up now

(2) : to finish a race or other competition in a certain manner or position

the gelding finished strong and lost only by a nose

he finished third in the oratorical contest

c. : to have a certain issue or outcome : result

any illness must finish fatally for him — Osbert Sitwell

2. : to become smooth (as of lumber)

3. : to attend a finishing school

4. of an animal : to become suitably fat for marketing

Synonyms: see close

- finish with

II. noun

( -es )


a. : the final stage : conclusion , end

a fight to the finish

flaunted the riskiest of their stunts and then … broke into their whirlwind finish — Winifred Bambrick

turned a slow start into a fast finish

b. : the cause of one's ruin : downfall

his taste for gambling was his finish

2. : something that finishes, completes, or perfects: as


(1) : the joiner work and other fine work required for the completion of a building especially of the interior — see inside finish , outside finish

(2) : the higher grade of lumber used for this work — called also uppers

(3) : decorative surface treatment (as on paper, wood, stone, brick, plaster, or stucco)

(4) : a finishing material used in painting

oil finish

— see finishing coat

b. : the labor required for the last stage (as of a work of art)

the sculptor is now doing the finish on this splendid head

c. : a plain or decorative method of completing a part or an edge of a garment by use of a hem, binding, arrowhead, edging

d. : fat ; especially : the layer of fat lying beneath the skin of an animal well fattened for market or show

e. : the top or closure part of a glass container including the pouring lip and the threads or other means of attaching or inserting a closure

f. : the final treatment or coating of a surface


a. : the result or product of a finishing process especially with regard to its quality, appearance, or characteristics

a fabric with a water-resistant finish

a cloth with a glazed finish

paper with a glossy finish

specifically : the state of a surface (as of furniture or pottery) after the tool marks have been obliterated

b. : fit VI 3

c. : the quality or state of being perfected or minutely elaborated : impeccable, finished, or flawless quality : perfection

the exquisite finish of this artist's work

the machine … worked with neither the accuracy nor the finish of these girls — Sam Pollock

his novels have a finish , a flavor, that the cultivated recognize and relish

at the age of 60 he danced … and still displayed great finish and fine style — Anatole Chujoy

d. : cultivation in manners and speech : social polish

III. noun

of a beverage : the taste left in the mouth after swallowing

a wine with a long dry finish

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.