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finish Line breaks: fin¦ish
Pronunciation: /ˈfɪnɪʃ/

Definition of finish in English:


[with object]
1Bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete: they were straining to finish the job [with present participle]: we finished eating our meal
More example sentences
  • Co-ordination work has started and a task force will finish a feasibility study for the whole project by the end of this year.
  • After she had finished the required tasks she got right down to work on getting to know the dogs.
  • He added: ‘I definitely want to be a professional musician once I finish my studies.’
complete, end, conclude, close, bring to a conclusion, bring to an end, bring to a close, consummate, finalize, bring to fruition;
crown, cap, set the seal on, round off, put the finishing touches to;
accomplish, execute, discharge, carry out, deal with, do, get done, fulfil
informal wind up, wrap up, sew up, polish off, knock off
accomplished, executed, discharged, done with, done, fulfilled, settled;
1.1Consume or get through the final amount or portion of (something, especially food or drink): Seagram finished off a margarita as he waited
More example sentences
  • After the meat was finished off, both Silhi and I laid on our backs and looked up at the sky.
  • He was sad to read in the newspapers about a retired high school teacher having to hop from table to table in a food outlet to finish the leftovers on the plates.
  • We discovered that we all had a horror of wasting food, and would finish a dish rather than throw it in the bin.
consume, eat, devour, drink, finish off, polish off, gulp (down), guzzle, quaff;
informal down
1.2 [no object] (Of a period or activity) come to an end: the war has finished but nothing has changed
More example sentences
  • Not only was his season finished, but the future of his playing days was in serious jeopardy.
  • One of them had spent hours working with Sherry in Australia each day after training had finished.
  • Did I mention that I have jury duty coming up straight after the summer semester finishes?
end, come to an end, stop, conclude, come to a conclusion/end/close, cease, terminate
informal wind up
1.3 [no object] End a period of time or course of action by doing something or being in a particular position: he finished up as one of Britain’s greatest architects
More example sentences
  • They talked about the glacial movement of the peace process and the interviewer finished up by asking what he was cooking for dinner.
  • It was fun racing, it was really nice finishing up with this competition but I wanted to win the Tour.
1.4 [no object] Reach the end of a race or other competition: the first four horses to finish [with complement]: Falkirk finished fifth in the Scottish Premier League
More example sentences
  • Four weeks later he made his competitive debut, finishing 32nd in a race in Austria.
  • Isaac McCann consolidated his overall third place in the under-13 race finishing in third place in 10.25 sec.
  • Emmett ran a good race to finish in fifth place with a ‘Personal Best’ of 4 minutes 2 seconds.
1.5 [no object] British (In soccer) score a goal or goals: Dean finished well to put his team ahead
More example sentences
  • Australia could have had two goals since Brazil scored if they could finish!
  • He is excellent on drives and can finish at the goal or score on runners and pull-up jumpers.
  • We played the sort of rugby we have been aiming for, and I think with a bit of improved finishing we could have scored a few more tries.
1.6Kill, destroy, or comprehensively defeat: the English men-at-arms finished them off in hand-to-hand combat
More example sentences
  • I will finish Naylor if it kills me, or a few innocent bystanders.
  • He has just about finished things off by destroying trust and honour.
  • She didn't resist when Xienna grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and propelled her out of the dormitory at high speed, but part of her screamed at her for not finishing the boy.
kill, cause the death of, take/end the life of, destroy, execute, annihilate, exterminate, liquidate, put an end to, do away with, dispose of, get rid of, eradicate, deliver the coup de grâce to
informal wipe out, do in, bump off, polish off, knock off, top, take out, croak, stiff, blow away
North American informal ice, off, rub out, waste, whack
overpower, overwhelm, overcome, defeat, get the better of, best, worst, rout, conquer, bring down
informal drive to the wall
ruined, doomed, lost, bankrupt, wrecked, broken, defeated, beaten, thwarted;
at an end, gone, gone to the wall, over with
informal washed up, over the hill, past it, played out, through, toast
1.7Reduce to utter exhaustion or helplessness.
2Complete the manufacture or decoration of (an article) by giving it an attractive surface appearance: the interior was finished with American oak
More example sentences
  • The fuselage appears to be painted in olive green while the flying surface appears to be finished in silver.
  • Drywall can be difficult for a novice to finish to a smooth surface.
  • Take the same care in cleaning and preparing a surface to be stained as you would in finishing it.
varnish, lacquer, veneer, coat, stain, wax, shellac, enamel, put a finish on, glaze, give a shine to, gloss, polish, burnish, smooth off
2.1Complete the fattening of (livestock) before slaughter: over 100,000 head of cattle are finished every year (as adjective finished) a reduction in prices for finished cattle
More example sentences
  • After each grazing phase was completed, cattle were finished in a western Oklahoma feedlot.
  • He finishes the cattle at the feedlot that he manages.
  • Thus, smaller-scaled feedlots are a more suitable option for finishing Kentucky cattle.
3 dated Prepare (a girl) for entry into fashionable society: where were you finished?


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1 [usually in singular] An end or final part or stage of something: a bowl of raspberries was the perfect finish to the meal I really enjoyed the film from start to finish
More example sentences
  • As the game moved on to day three the stage was set for a close finish on the final day.
  • The whole thing was misconceived from start to finish - if it has a finish.
  • That is what they will be doing now, and they will be doing so from start to finish - with the finish being the most critical and difficult element in the media mix.
final part, final stage, final act, finale, denouement, last stages;
accomplishment, execution, fulfilment, realization, achievement, consummation, resolution, fruition
1.1A point or place at which a race or competition ends: he surged into a winning lead 200 metres from the finish
More example sentences
  • Late Monday evening news travelled through that the race finish had been moved, as most ships had not passed the second waypoint!
  • In 2003 he approached the finish of the race with it all sewn up at odds of 4/11 but came down.
  • The rest of us observe the endurance of the human spirit from the sidelines as they race towards the finish.
2 [mass noun] The manner in which the manufacture of an article is completed in detail: the car’s popularity is helped by its high-quality finish and strong diesel engine
More example sentences
  • It exhibits the same meticulous detail and refined finish, only varying in the addition of a lapis lazuli stand and in some minor heraldic details.
  • Clearly a labour of love with its attention to detail and cosy finish, it is a perfect lovers' retreat.
  • This stand was second only to that of Ibrox in terms of its architectural finish and detail.
2.1 [count noun] The surface appearance of a manufactured material or object, or the material used to produce this: lightweight nylon with a shiny finish
More example sentences
  • In a traditional barn, you won't find finishes like drywall or gypsum board.
  • The kitchen is a light, airy space that achieves a sophisticated country look through its combination of materials and finishes.
  • Gloss finishes are shiny and scrubbable, so they are perfect for doors, trim and specialty uses.
surface, texture, grain;
glaze, lustre, gloss, polish, shine, patina
2.2The final taste impression of a wine or beer: the wine has a lemony tang on the finish
More example sentences
  • The mouth-watering finish is more Sauvignon blanc than Chardonnay in style.
  • The palate is an opulent offering of warm and delectable flavors that last long into the impressive finish.
  • This smashing red will not hang around for long either, so if you fancy a gamey, rustic, plummy wine with a seductive, spicy, perfumed finish, move fast.


Middle English: from Old French feniss-, lengthened stem of fenir, from Latin finire, from finis 'end'.

  • finance from Late Middle English:

    The word finance is from Old French, from finer ‘make an end; settle a debt’, from fin ‘end’. The original sense was ‘payment of a debt, compensation, or ransom’, which later developed into ‘taxation, revenue’. Current senses date from the 18th century. Fine (Middle English) in the sense money you pay, comes from the same source and was originally a sum paid to settle a lawsuit, while the other sense of fine, ‘high quality’ leading to ‘thin’, also Middle English, goes back to the earlier sense ‘thoroughly finished’, and lies behind refine (late 16th century), define (Late Middle English), finery (late 17th century), and finesse (Late Middle English). Finish (Middle English) itself goes back to the same root.


to the finish

Until the complete defeat of one of the parties involved: Linfield clinched their first championship in a thrilling fight to the finish
More example sentences
  • I think he'll fight to the finish and will do everything possible to ensure he doesn't get captured.
  • Here again, another little, mini thriller was played out as both teams fought it out to the finish.
  • However, I am proud of the way our whole side performed and stuck in right to the finish.

Phrasal verbs

finish with

British Have no more need for or nothing more to do with: they give me the newspaper when they’ve finished with it
More example sentences
  • Swallow your pride, and ask the people getting off a bus at your stop if they are finished with their day ticket.
  • Conner had to quit his job, finish with Jim, pack up his life, and say goodbye to his friends and family.
  • A return to the workplace can wait; that should still be there when he finishes with athletics, and he is contemplating a degree in design engineering in future.
informal 1.1 End an emotional relationship with: ‘I’ve finished with Tom,’ Gloria said

Words that rhyme with finish

diminish, Finnish, thinnish

Definition of finish in:

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