adjective, fin·er, fin·est.

  1. of superior or best quality; of high or highest grade: fine wine.
  2. choice, excellent, or admirable: a fine painting.
  3. consisting of minute particles: fine sand; a fine purée.
  4. very thin or slender: fine thread.
  5. keen or sharp, as a tool: Is the knife fine enough to carve well?
  6. delicate in texture; filmy: fine cotton fabric.
  7. delicately fashioned: fine tracery.
  8. highly skilled or accomplished: a fine musician.
  9. trained to the maximum degree, as an athlete.
  10. characterized by or affecting refinement or elegance: a fine lady.
  11. polished or refined: fine manners.
  12. affectedly ornate or elegant: A style so fine repels the average reader.
  13. delicate or subtle: a fine distinction.
  14. bright and clear: a fine day; fine skin.
  15. healthy; well: In spite of his recent illness, he looks fine.
  16. showy or smart; elegant in appearance: a bird of fine plumage.
  17. good-looking or handsome: a fine young man.
  18. (of a precious metal or its alloy) free from impurities or containing a large amount of pure metal: fine gold; Sterling silver is 92.5 percent fine.


  1. Informal. in an excellent manner; very well: He did fine on the exams. She sings fine.
  2. very small: She writes so fine I can hardly read it.
  3. Billiards, Pool. in such a way that the driven ball barely touches the object ball in passing.
  4. Nautical. as close as possible to the wind: sailing fine.

verb (used without object), fined, fin·ing.

  1. to become fine or finer, as by refining.
  2. to become less, as in size or proportions; reduce; diminish (often followed by down): The plumpness fines down with exercise.

verb (used with object), fined, fin·ing.

  1. to make fine or finer, especially by refining or pulverizing.
  2. to reduce the size or proportions of (often used with down or away): to fine down the heavy features; to fine away superfluous matter in a design.
  3. to clarify (wines or spirits) by filtration.


  1. fines,
    1. Mining.crushed ore sufficiently fine to pass through a given screen.Compare short(def 29e).
    2. Agriculture.the fine bits of corn kernel knocked off during handling of the grain.
  1. cut fine, to calculate precisely, especially without allowing for possible error or accident: To finish in ten minutes is to cut it too fine.


  1. a sum of money imposed as a penalty for an offense or dereliction: a parking fine.
  2. Law. a fee paid by a feudal tenant to the landlord, as on the renewal of tenure.
  3. English Law. (formerly) a conveyance of land through decree of a court, based upon a simulated lawsuit.
  4. Archaic. a penalty of any kind.

verb (used with object), fined, fin·ing.

  1. to subject to a fine or pecuniary penalty; punish by a fine: The judge fined him and released him on parole.
  1. in fine,
    1. in short; briefly.
    2. in conclusion; finally: It was, in fine, a fitting end to the story.


  1. excellent or choice in quality; very good of its kinda fine speech
  2. superior in skill, ability, or accomplishmenta fine violinist
  3. (of weather) clear and dry
  4. enjoyable or satisfyinga fine time
  5. (postpositive) informal quite well; in satisfactory healthI feel fine
  6. satisfactory; acceptablethat’s fine by me
  7. of delicate composition or careful workmanshipfine crystal
  8. (of precious metals) pure or having a high or specified degree of purityfine silver; gold 98 per cent fine
  9. subtle in perception; discriminatinga fine eye for antique brasses
  10. abstruse or subtlea fine point in argument
  11. very thin or slenderfine hair
  12. very smallfine dust; fine print
  13. (of edges, blades, etc) sharp; keen
  14. ornate, showy, or smart
  15. good-looking; handsomea fine young woman
  16. polished, elegant, or refineda fine gentleman
  17. morally upright and commendablea fine man
  18. cricket (of a fielding position) oblique to and behind the wicketfine leg
  19. (prenominal) informal disappointing or terriblea fine mess


  1. informal quite well; all rightthat suits me fine
  2. a nonstandard word for finely
  3. billiards snooker (of a stroke on the cue ball) so as to merely brush the object ball
  4. cut it fine to allow little margin of time, space, etc


  1. to make or become finer; refine
  2. (often foll by down or away) to make or become smaller
  3. (tr) to clarify (wine, etc) by adding finings
  4. (tr) billiards snooker to hit (a cue ball) fine
  5. (intr foll by up) Australian and NZ informal (of the weather) to become fine


  1. a certain amount of money exacted as a penaltya parking fine
  2. a payment made by a tenant at the start of his tenancy to reduce his subsequent rent; premium
  3. feudal law a sum of money paid by a man to his lord, esp for the privilege of transferring his land to another
  4. a method of transferring land in England by bringing a fictitious law suit: abolished 1833
  5. in fine
    1. in short; briefly
    2. in conclusion; finally


  1. (tr) to impose a fine on

noun music

  1. the point at which a piece is to end, usually after a da capo or dal segno
  2. an ending or finale


  1. brandy of ordinary quality

late 13c., “pay as a ransom or penalty,” from fine (n.). Inverted meaning “to punish by a fine” is from 1550s. Related: Fined; fining.


mid-13c., “unblemished, refined, pure; of superior quality,” from Old French fin “perfected, of highest quality” (12c.), from Latin finis “end, limit” (see finish); hence “acme, peak, height,” as in finis boni “the highest good.”

In French, the main meaning remains “delicate, intricately skillful;” in English since mid-15c. fine is also a general expression of admiration or approval, the equivalent of French beau (cf. fine arts, 1767, translating French beaux-arts). Finer; finest. Fine print is from 1861 as “type small and close-set;” by 1934 as “qualifications and limitations of a deal.”


c.1200, “termination,” from Old French fin “end, limit, boundary; death; fee, payment, finance, money” (10c.), from Medieval Latin finis “a payment in settlement, fine or tax,” from Latin finis “end” (see finish).

Modern meaning is via sense of “sum of money paid for exemption from punishment or to compensate for injury” (mid-14c., from the same sense in Anglo-French, late 13c.) and from phrases such as to make fine “make one’s peace, settle a matter” (c.1300). Meaning “sum of money imposed as penalty for some offense” is first recorded 1520s.

In addition to the idioms beginning with fine

  • fine and dandy
  • fine art

also see:

  • come on in (the water’s fine)
  • cut it fine
  • in fine feather

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