Definition of finesse in English:

finesse

Line breaks: fi¦nesse
Pronunciation: /fɪˈnɛs
 
/

noun

  • 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
    winning move, trick, stratagem, ruse, manoeuvre, scheme, artifice, machination, bluff, wile
    informal dodge

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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