- extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
- skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.
- a trick, artifice, or stratagem.
- Bridge, Whist. an attempt to win a trick with a card while holding a higher card not in sequence with it, in the hope that the card or cards between will not be played.
verb (used without object), fi·nessed, fi·ness·ing.
- to use finesse or artifice.
- to make a finesse at cards.
verb (used with object), fi·nessed, fi·ness·ing.
- to bring about by finesse or artifice.
- to avoid; circumvent.
- to make a finesse with (a card).
- to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.
- elegant skill in style or performance
- subtlety and tact in handling difficult situations
- bridge whist an attempt to win a trick when opponents hold a high card in the suit led by playing a lower card, hoping the opponent who has already played holds the missing card
- a trick, artifice, or strategy
- to manage or bring about with finesse
- to play (a card) as a finesse
1520s, from Middle French finesse “fineness, subtlety,” from Old French fin “subtle, delicate” (see fine (adj.)).
1746, originally as a term in whist; see finesse (n.). Related: Finessed; finessing.