verb (used with object)

  1. to bring (something) to an end or to completion; complete: to finish a novel; to finish breakfast.
  2. to come to the end of (a course, period of time, etc.): to finish school.
  3. to use completely (often followed by up or off): to finish up a can of paint; to finish off the rest of the milk.
  4. to overcome completely; destroy or kill (often followed by off): This spray will finish off the cockroaches.
  5. to complete and perfect in detail; put the final touches on (sometimes followed by up): He decided to finish his plan more carefully. She finished up a painting.
  6. to put a finish on (wood, metal, etc.): We finished the desk in antique red lacquer.
  7. to perfect (a person) in education, accomplishments, social graces, etc.
  8. to ready (livestock) for market by feeding a diet calculated to produce the desired weight.

verb (used without object)

  1. to come to an end: The course finishes in January.
  2. to complete a course, project, etc. (sometimes followed by up): I finished before he did. It was nine o’clock when we finished up.
  3. (of livestock) to become fattened for market.


  1. the end or conclusion; the final part or last stage.
  2. the end of a hunt, race, etc.: a close finish.
  3. a decisive ending: a fight to the finish.
  4. the quality of being finished or completed with smoothness, elegance, etc.: to admire the finish of one’s writing.
  5. educational or social polish.
  6. the manner in which an object is perfected or finished in its preparation, or an effect imparted in finishing.
  7. the surface coating or texture of wood, metal, etc.
  8. something used or serving to finish, complete, or perfect a thing.
  9. woodwork or the like, especially in the interior of a building, not essential to the structure but used for purposes of ornament, neatness, etc.: a finish of black walnut.
  10. Also called finish coat, finishing coat. a final coat of plaster or paint.
  11. a material for application in finishing.
  12. Animal Husbandry. the fat tissue of livestock.
  13. the flavor remaining in the mouth after a wine has been swallowed.

Verb Phrases

  1. finish with,
    1. to bring to completion: She’s finished with her latest novel.
    2. to put aside, break all relations with, or reject finally: He’s finished with football and will play only baseball now. After the way they treated us, we’re finished with them.


  1. a craftsman who carries out the final tasks in a manufacturing process
  2. boxing a knockout blow

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to bring to an end; complete, conclude, or stop
  2. (intr sometimes foll by up) to be at or come to the end; use up
  3. to bring to a desired or complete condition
  4. to put a particular surface texture on (wood, cloth, etc)
  5. (often foll by off) to destroy or defeat completely
  6. to train (a person) in social graces and talents
  7. (intr foll by with)
    1. to end a relationship or association
    2. to stop punishing a personI haven’t finished with you yet!


  1. the final or last stage or part; end
    1. the death, destruction, or absolute defeat of a person or one side in a conflicta fight to the finish
    2. the person, event, or thing that brings this about
    1. the surface texture or appearance of wood, cloth, etca rough finish
    2. a preparation, such as varnish, used to produce such a texture
  2. a thing, event, etc, that completes
  3. completeness and high quality of workmanship
  4. refinement in social graces
  5. sport ability to sprint at the end of a racehe has a good finish

1779, “that which finishes or gives completion,” from finish (v.). Meaning “the end” is from 1790. Finish line attested from 1873.


late 14c., “to bring to an end;” mid-15c., “to come to an end,” from Old French finiss-, present participle stem of fenir (13c.) “stop, finish, come to an end, die,” from Latin finire “to limit, set bounds, put an end to, come to an end,” from finis “boundary, limit, border, end,” of unknown origin, perhaps related to figere “to fasten, fix” (see fix). Meaning “to kill” is from 1755. Related: Finished; finishing. Finishing school is from 1836.

see from soup to nuts (start to finish); in at the death (finish).

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