Definition of finesse in English:

finesse

Line breaks: fi¦nesse
Pronunciation: /fɪˈnɛs
 
/

noun

1 [mass noun] Impressive delicacy and skill: orchestral playing of great finesse
More example sentences
  • But the Bulldogs' goal-line defence was equally as impressive as their finishing finesse.
  • There is an inherently satisfying quality to sharing the gratification of skill, finesse and excitement with a substantial number of individuals.
  • It is a game of skill, finesse and intelligence.
Synonyms
skill, subtlety, expertise, flair, knack, panache, dash, flourish, elan, polish, adroitness, skilfulness, adeptness, artistry, art, artfulness, virtuosity, mastery, genius
informal know-how
1.1Great subtlety and tact in handling or manipulating people or difficult situations: clients want advice and action that calls for considerable finesse
More example sentences
  • And I learnt from my Parsi connections through marriage that death and sorrow can be handled with so much finesse, so much dignity.
  • Handle issues with finesse, and you and the crew could come out closer.
  • The elegance of the juxtapositions, presented with utmost tact and finesse, allowed associations to seep into our minds almost unbidden.
Synonyms
2(In bridge and whist) an attempt to win a trick with a card that is not a certain winner, typically by playing it as the third card in a trick in the hope that any card that could beat it is in the hand of the opponent who has already played.
More example sentences
  • It would be unwise for West to lead from either of his 3x suits (not knowing that partner has the aces), and West hopes to take a finesse in cups later.
  • Advocates were either unaware of the magnitude of possible complications or had their perception thereof narrowed and/or finessed by ideologically driven a priori beliefs, and so on.
  • To do its job, a test needs to be absolutely fair and rigorous, incapable of being finessed, and externally moderated.
Synonyms

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Bring about or deal with (something) by using great delicacy and skill: Karen spent ten months finessing the financing for the property
More example sentences
  • It takes a measure of artistic fortitude to lovingly depict the ordinary, and ample skill to finesse it into quietly seductive works of art.
  • The plain fact is that he should have gone to Shanghai personally to finesse the deal with the car makers.
  • He's a bedroom wizard, finessing the ragged street sounds of garage and hip hop into sleek, clipped cyber-beats; employing everything from maracas to car alarms in his percussive quest.
1.1chiefly North American Slyly attempt to avoid blame or censure when dealing with (a situation or problem): despite the administration’s attempts to finesse its mishaps, the public remained wary
More example sentences
  • It appears that the administration will attempt to finesse this problem by the blatant expedient of pretending the borrowing never happened.
  • Some interpreters attempt to finesse the problem, claiming that it is irrelevant.
  • As a measure of character, also consider how he finessed the problem of appeasing tree-huggers while avoiding offence to countrymen whom the accords would have thrown out of work.
Synonyms
bluff, manoeuvre, cheat, evade, trick, feign
2(In bridge and whist) play (a card) in the hope of winning a trick with it because any card that could beat it is in the hand of the opponent who has already played.
More example sentences
  • There are three ways of winning tricks: by playing high cards or by finessing (the Venetian word for finesse is passera); by establishing long suits; by trumping suits in which one is void.

Origin

late Middle English (in the sense 'purity, delicacy'): from French, related to fine1.

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Pronunciation: ˌimpyəˈdisitē
noun
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