Definition of finish in English:



  • 1Bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete.

    ‘they were straining to finish the job’
    [with present participle] ‘we finished eating our meal’
    • ‘I haven't managed to finish this week's task as it was quite involved so I've decided to carry it over until next week.’
    • ‘I did a Masters straight after my BA as I was couldn't decide between finding a job and trying to finish my studies.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Co-ordination work has started and a task force will finish a feasibility study for the whole project by the end of this year.’
    • ‘Reluctantly, she finishes her homework and eats a quiet dinner with her family.’
    • ‘Also, Cleric wants Jim to follow him to Harvard, where he has accepted a job offer, and finish his education there.’
    • ‘OK, by now you should have finished the colouring task I set earlier.’
    • ‘When in a hurry, workers devote mental resources to quickly finishing a task, rather than generating new ideas.’
    • ‘He was highly regarded and known as a hard-working, diligent member of the team who could be trusted to finish any task with characteristic good humour.’
    • ‘Dr. Rothery visibly relaxed and went to finish the task she had started before the interruption, bringing my water over to me.’
    • ‘You can do the same following our step-by-step painting template, or finish the project as you see fit.’
    • ‘That sort of interaction gave me fuel to finish my task.’
    • ‘Most Airmen know they're important to their mission and they must finish their tasks.’
    • ‘His proof was so complex that referees spent 6 years checking the results, without completely finishing the task.’
    • ‘When she finished this task, she placed the basket securely on the dresser to await the arrival of Johnny's van.’
    • ‘After finishing his task, he was invited to work at the Bureau, but he declined.’
    • ‘The carpenter would respond, and eventually a painter would get to the job site to finish the work.’
    • ‘I could have finished the task a couple of weeks ago, but, for some reason, I decided to prolong the agony and leave it hanging.’
    • ‘He said that he would quit his post after he finishes his assigned task of reforming party policies, but that he would remain a party member.’
    completed, concluded, consummated, finalized, terminated, over and done with, over, in the past, at an end
    complete, end, conclude, close, bring to a conclusion, bring to an end, bring to a close, consummate, finalize, bring to fruition
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    1. 1.1Consume or get through the final amount or portion of (something, especially food or drink)
      ‘Seagram finished off a margarita as he waited’
      • ‘The little sister has somehow finished her drink and disposed of the glass.’
      • ‘Mark finished his drink, and spun the glass round and round on the table in front of him.’
      • ‘I came back in and finished my drink and looking back I can't recall that it tasted any different.’
      • ‘We discovered that we all had a horror of wasting food, and would finish a dish rather than throw it in the bin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By early evening we will have finished our food, and will have had several drinks.’
      • ‘At one, there was a load of polystyrene boxes outside with the remains of takeaway meals, dumped by people who couldn't be bothered to finish their food.’
      • ‘He sat with the sick man until late in the evening, and then finished the food himself.’
      • ‘He waited patiently for Ambrose to finish his drink, then took the canteen from the man's outstretched hand.’
      consume, eat, devour, drink, finish off, polish off, guzzle, quaff
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    2. 1.2[no object](of a period or activity) come to an end.
      ‘the war has finished but nothing has changed’
      • ‘She added that although the water clears when building work finishes, it was happening more and more because of the amount of property renovation in the village.’
      • ‘Not only was his season finished, but the future of his playing days was in serious jeopardy.’
      • ‘These months, between one academic year finishing and the next one starting, are pretty frenetic - dealing simultaneously with year end and all the prep for what's about to start.’
      • ‘Nine months of work has finished on upgrading one of the main gates at Portsmouth Naval Base, which has now re-opened for traffic.’
      • ‘Did I mention that I have jury duty coming up straight after the summer semester finishes?’
      • ‘She will then pack up when the holiday season finishes at the end of the summer, and head back to Bali to buy next year's stock.’
      • ‘I didn't think about it over the weekend (once my work day finishes, so does my thoughts and worries about work), but it's been on my mind today.’
      • ‘Just think about the fact that a sitting of the chamber finishes after 5pm, but the full verbatim report is published by 8.30 the next morning.’
      • ‘One of them had spent hours working with Sherry in Australia each day after training had finished.’
      • ‘Not that I plan to do anything more than watch it grow until the summer finishes and autumn is well under way.’
      • ‘They hope vital witnesses may come forward before term finishes on Friday.’
      • ‘Due to the pace of the construction, some projects are finishing ahead of schedule.’
      • ‘He said some enterprises never even lock their doors after the work day finishes.’
      • ‘Work finished at the factory in the summer, and the firm relocated.’
      • ‘Builders are hoping to have the work finished in time for St. Patrick's Day.’
      • ‘It is understood the tower crane at the centre of Tuesday night's drama will be decommissioned when crane work finishes within the next two weeks.’
      • ‘The day will finish off with evening dinner and entertainment in the Arklow Bay Hotel.’
      end, come to an end, stop, conclude, come to a close, come to a conclusion, come to a end, cease, terminate
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    3. 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’
      • ‘It was fun racing, it was really nice finishing up with this competition but I wanted to win the Tour.’
      • ‘They talked about the glacial movement of the peace process and the interviewer finished up by asking what he was cooking for dinner.’
    4. 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’
      • ‘If we were to finish fifth every race, I think we could win the championship.’
      • ‘All four were members of China's 2003 world championships team which finished fourth.’
      • ‘Zedrovski raced competitively to finish in second place, a length and three quarters back.’
      • ‘Isaac McCann consolidated his overall third place in the under-13 race finishing in third place in 10.25 sec.’
      • ‘At Daytona, Mears showed a veteran's patience and wound up finishing a career-best second.’
      • ‘He has finished all but one race, and he has four top-five finishes.’
      • ‘Emmett ran a good race to finish in fifth place with a ‘Personal Best’ of 4 minutes 2 seconds.’
      • ‘He won just one Chase race but still finished ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who won four times during the Chase.’
      • ‘The six-year-old, no stranger to success on this course, ran a fine race to finish third here on Monday.’
      • ‘Four weeks later he made his competitive debut, finishing 32nd in a race in Austria.’
      • ‘Despite this handicap, he finished in a fine fifth place and learnt a lot about his new team and car.’
      • ‘It is the first top 10 finish by a woman competitor at the Race to the Sky.’
    5. 1.5British [no object](in soccer) score a goal or goals.
      ‘Dean finished well to put his team ahead’
      • ‘The team scored two podium finishes in 2003, and made its 2004 debut at Phoenix with a top 10 finish.’
      • ‘Parsons was chased to the flag by Paddy Murray, as both Club Class racers scored their debut podium finishes in the championship.’
      • ‘Australia could have had two goals since Brazil scored if they could finish!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Naas took the Div two crown with some clinical goal finishing from talented full forward Fergal Barry to overcome Carbury in an excellent final played in Clane.’
      • ‘The fightback was sealed after 72 minutes with a goal started and finished by Summerbee.’
      • ‘But it was Newry who finished with a flourish, grabbing that comfort goal.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, John Mike Dooley pounced for the first of his two goals when he finished to the net from a set up by Colin Harris.’
      • ‘However, it was the visitors who finished well with a goal and a point.’
      • ‘It took three Banbridge players to stop the big man but he still managed to get his pass away to Pooler Archbold, who drew the cover and put Glen Kyle in to finish off the score.’
      • ‘Rovers who had to play most of the game with ten men as John Straker was sent off in the 29th minute finished the game strong and with better finishing in front of goal they would have got a point.’
      • ‘He is excellent on drives and can finish at the goal or score on runners and pull-up jumpers.’
      • ‘But King hit back with two bull finishes to level the score at 1-1 in sets.’
    6. 1.6Kill, destroy, or comprehensively defeat.
      ‘the English men-at-arms finished them off in hand-to-hand combat’
      • ‘I will finish Naylor if it kills me, or a few innocent bystanders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has just about finished things off by destroying trust and honour.’
      • ‘Tarhiel cornered Rhys against the large window wall and prepared to finish Rhys.’
      kill, cause the death of, end the life of, take 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
      ruined, doomed, lost, bankrupt, wrecked, broken, defeated, beaten, thwarted
      overpower, overwhelm, overcome, defeat, get the better of, best, worst, rout, conquer, bring down
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    7. 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’
    • ‘Only after many hours of finishing the surface, was the leather ready to be used.’
    • ‘Take the same care in cleaning and preparing a surface to be stained as you would in finishing it.’
    • ‘The homeowner used a sage green stain to finish her garden wall.’
    • ‘The fuselage appears to be painted in olive green while the flying surface appears to be finished in silver.’
    • ‘All in all the rifle looked good and was finished in an attractive black satin finish.’
    • ‘Teak takes on a beautifully polished appearance when finished because it contains natural oils.’
    • ‘Drywall can be difficult for a novice to finish to a smooth surface.’
    varnish, lacquer, veneer, coat, stain, wax, shellac, enamel, put a finish on, glaze, give a shine to, gloss, polish, burnish, smooth off
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    1. 2.1Complete the fattening of (livestock) before slaughter.
      ‘over 100,000 head of cattle are finished every year’
      ‘a reduction in prices for finished cattle’
      • ‘Otherwise there will be nobody to buy cattle from primary producers who are not in a position to finish their cattle to beef.’
      • ‘By not finishing animals in a feedlot, there are no feedlot-related illnesses, and so there's less need for medications.’
      • ‘Increased grain costs or decreased cattle prices have usually been the factors for renewed interest in finishing cattle on forage diets.’
      • ‘Forage systems ended either September 1 or November 23, at which time the cattle were placed in the feedlot for finishing.’
      • ‘For example, farmers finishing cattle over the winter will need a level of advance guarantee on spring beef prices.’
      • ‘He sells heifers as yearlings, finishes the bullocks and also has 20 ewes.’
      • ‘Fattening cattle should be finished quickly once they are housed.’
      • ‘Thus, smaller-scaled feedlots are a more suitable option for finishing Kentucky cattle.’
      • ‘After each grazing phase was completed, cattle were finished in a western Oklahoma feedlot.’
      • ‘He finishes the cattle at the feedlot that he manages.’
      • ‘The competition is open to suckler farmers whether finishing cattle or selling weanlings or stores.’
  • 3dated Prepare (a girl) for entry into fashionable society.

    ‘where were you finished?’


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A perfect finish to the night: flamenco dancing by a thrilling young dancer and music in a small club.’
    • ‘These soft, refreshing winter fruits, with their complex texture and flavour, make the perfect finish to a meal.’
    • ‘The whole thing was misconceived from start to finish - if it has a finish.’
    • ‘A few hours in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre and a film will put a perfect finish to the day.’
    • ‘This was not to be as a broken rear arm on the second stage meant an early finish for the Carnforth team.’
    • ‘The match was poised for a close finish, when it ended abruptly.’
    • ‘The stage is set for the closest finish in the history of the World Rally Championship.’
    • ‘It remains whether he has the ability to match him at the stage finish in what is his first Tour.’
    • ‘The particularly tough climb of Alpe d' Huez is a favourite, providing a stage finish in most Tours.’
    • ‘The Russian campaign will have you on your toes from start to finish - and what a finish it is!’
    • ‘As the game moved on to day three the stage was set for a close finish on the final day.’
    • ‘By the finish of the race, some exposed sections were drying out, but the interior trails were still pretty thick.’
    • ‘Against the Olympic champion, France's Laure Manaudou, in tonight's 400m free final, such a finish will be essential.’
    • ‘The support we received from start to finish was overwhelming.’
    • ‘For a perfect finish, the snout of the hunter should stab down between his forepaws just as they hit the ground.’
    end, ending, completion, conclusion, close, closing, cessation, finalization, termination
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    1. 1.1A point or place at which a race or competition ends.
      ‘he surged into a winning lead 200 metres from the finish’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Late Monday evening news travelled through that the race finish had been moved, as most ships had not passed the second waypoint!’
      • ‘Anyway, I'm happy because we reached the finish of a race where so many things have happened.’
      • ‘Just outside Buckingham Palace, probably a hundred metres from the finish, I saw an old fella being led away by the St John's Army.’
      • ‘This was the case as they turned the final bend into the finish.’
      • ‘Verbrugghe broke away on the stage's final climb 18 km from the finish and raced home alone.’
      finishing line, finishing post, tape, end point
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  • 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’
    • ‘You can specify matt finish in the ‘additional information’ box that is at the bottom of the order details page.’
    • ‘‘This is a very high quality office block in terms of specification and finish,’ suggests Doolan.’
    • ‘The refined finish of the scenes embossed and chased in the minutest detail shows off the skill of the silversmiths involved.’
    • ‘It's got a metallic, dark blue finish and a polished aluminum triangular logo on the front.’
    • ‘The fascia and interior plastics benefit from a much higher quality finish featuring scratch-resistant textures.’
    • ‘Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry and finish of the diamond.’
    • ‘If the designers gave the vehicle a strong look on the outside, they went for top quality finish and lots of space inside.’
    • ‘I don't really mind this, and rather like the distinctly metallic looking finish and dark, dark blue colouring.’
    • ‘This stand was second only to that of Ibrox in terms of its architectural finish and detail.’
    • ‘Look at one of their projects and ask yourself whether you would be happy with the quality of finish - paintwork is a good indicator.’
    • ‘The finishing touch came with the specification of a semi metallic mid grey paint finish, covering sheet steel doors.’
    • ‘Given its high specification finish, it may also appeal to an investor seeking to rent to corporate clients.’
    • ‘And, in a house like this, quality of finish is all-important.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wacky overprints, a dull gold finish, colourful rhinestones and lots of feather and fur completed the look.’
    • ‘Clearly a labour of love with its attention to detail and cosy finish, it is a perfect lovers' retreat.’
    • ‘Fraser even holds out the possibility of adding a metallic soft-touch finish to a specific area on a larger part, like a door panel.’
    • ‘The colour has also changed, adding an optional metallic finish and a dark purple as the primary colour.’
    • ‘The detail and perfect finish make every piece an object of wonder.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘In a traditional barn, you won't find finishes like drywall or gypsum board.’
      • ‘Rods and other accessories are available in unlimited finishes from paint surfaces to antique patina.’
      • ‘She also chooses finishes and materials that change over time.’
      • ‘New doors are manufactured in powder-coated finishes, with rounded curves in all different colors.’
      • ‘We have found time and time again that, when done right, earthen plasters and finishes are far superior to concrete and synthetic stuccos in many ways.’
      • ‘Natural finishes provide warmth and texture in the kitchen too.’
      • ‘Eventually all finishes will lose some of their shine as the finish coating wears.’
      • ‘Rustic country decorating includes the use of natural woods, aged surfaces, rough finishes and simple lines.’
      • ‘Some newer blinds are coated with reflective finishes.’
      • ‘As well as offering excellent workmanship and using top quality materials and finishes, Custom Kitchens take a fresh and innovative approach to kitchen design.’
      • ‘However, when surface finishes must be renewed, it is usually necessary to refinish the entire room.’
      • ‘This sealer serves well for a base coat for other finishes.’
      • ‘Surface finishes provide a tough, clear coating over stained or sealed wood.’
      • ‘The kitchen is a light, airy space that achieves a sophisticated country look through its combination of materials and finishes.’
      • ‘Keep in mind that the color may come from different finishes: paint, plaster, tile, or wallpaper.’
      • ‘There are basically two types of floor finishes: one is oil-based and the other is water-based polyurethane.’
      • ‘Gloss finishes are shiny and scrubbable, so they are perfect for doors, trim and specialty uses.’
      • ‘Concrete surfaces come in three basic finishes and many colors.’
      • ‘Do you prefer glazed, painted or laminated finishes?’
      • ‘Frames come in a choice of finishes, from polished aluminium to brushed nickel or satin chrome.’
      veneer, lacquer, lamination, coating, covering, coat
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    2. 2.2The final taste impression of a wine or beer.
      ‘the wine has a lemony tang on the finish’
      • ‘It still has a slightly firm finish but this wine scored well with high awards by all tasters.’
      • ‘The smell is of a fine cognac, the taste is of a fine wine and the finish is elegantly long, refined and smooth.’
      • ‘A moderately smooth drink but with a strange, medicinal 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.’
      • ‘It's a big wine, almost in a Bollinger style, with lots of yeasty flavours and a big, bold finish.’
      • ‘Earthy, spicy notes give way to a crunchy palate of light berry fruit with a final rustic finish of mulberry jam.’
      • ‘The palate is an opulent offering of warm and delectable flavors that last long into the impressive finish.’
      • ‘The lingering finish allows you to linger over the flavors of the brandy and natural vanilla.’
      • ‘The finish of the beer is fruity (both from berries and hops), dry, bitter and with a delicious creamy malt note.’
      • ‘This joyous, soft, ripe, buttery Chardonnay with a pleasingly ripe nutty finish is a bargain at this price.’
      • ‘Its palate features an array of tantalizing flavors that last long into the cool and crisp finish.’
      • ‘The mouth-watering finish is more Sauvignon blanc than Chardonnay in style.’
      • ‘It is slightly sweet and rich but has a crisp clean acid finish.’
      • ‘It's a big, bold, toasty style with a lot of power and a lovely dry finish.’
      • ‘The result is a ripe, juicy, all-purpose Chardonnay with a fine, buttery finish.’
      • ‘Frankly, this ripe, spicy, cassis and berry-fruit red with a fine gamey finish is one of the best on the block, so tuck in.’


  • 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’
      • ‘He commanded troops in Guangdong and advocated a fight to the finish late in the war.’
      • ‘With eight days to go until the deadline for offers, it promises to be an interesting fight to the finish.’
      • ‘We fought hard and credit to the lads they never dropped their heads and fought to the finish.’
      • ‘Overcoming male chauvinism is no easy matter and it will have to be a relentless fight to the finish.’
      • ‘If successful, she could be showing her teeth on TV this September in a fight to the finish.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think he'll fight to the finish and will do everything possible to ensure he doesn't get captured.’
      • ‘This was a great team effort with all the players giving it their best right up to the finish.’
      • ‘The game turned out to be a close affair with the sides battling it out right up to the finish.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • finish with

    • 1Have no more need for or nothing more to do with.

      ‘they give me the newspaper when they've finished with it’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Swallow your pride, and ask the people getting off a bus at your stop if they are finished with their day ticket.’
      1. 1.1informal End an emotional relationship with.
        ‘‘I've finished with Tom,’ Gloria said’


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