Definition of finite in US English:



  • 1Having limits or bounds.

    ‘every computer has a finite amount of memory’
    • ‘Earth is a sphere; it therefore has finite volume and finite resources.’
    • ‘We know, that a single universe is enormously large, but always finite in size due to its Big-Bang origin.’
    • ‘In this era of limited resources and finite health - care budgets, it is important to assess not just clinical effectiveness but also cost effectiveness.’
    • ‘We do not know for sure whether the Universe is finite or infinite.’
    • ‘Inductive arguments reason from a finite set of examples to a general rule.’
    • ‘Guest speaker, Mr Warner, pointed out that water is a finite resource that is infinitely recycled.’
    • ‘However, there is a finite number of police officers to respond to incidents.’
    • ‘Simply because resources are finite, and we have to use them the best we can.’
    • ‘I have told them the heart only has a finite number of irreplaceable cells.’
    • ‘With Frank in the chair, the deans met every fortnight ensuring that finite resources were used effectively.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that in health there is infinite demand and finite resources, and each scarce health dollar must be put to the best possible use.’
    • ‘They were always going to gain a finite amount of income from the scheme.’
    • ‘If something created God, God would have a beginning and He'd be finite, not infinite.’
    • ‘On another, more important level, the book is about Levin's research in cosmology, and her idea that the universe may be finite in size.’
    • ‘These challenges include a finite budget, and limited personnel and resources.’
    • ‘"In public finance, circumstances change, and we have to recognise that resources are finite.’
    • ‘Everything we perceive is filtered through our finite minds with finite vocabulary.’
    • ‘Anderson now spreads the word on the unsustainability of infinite growth in a finite world.’
    • ‘Since our industry is so specific, it's really a finite group of people we're targeting.’
    • ‘Language is a descriptive and a definitive tool - to name the thing is to bind the thing - and as such it is finite and limited.’
    limited, not infinite, subject to limitations, restricted
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not infinitely small.
      ‘one's chance of winning may be small, but it is finite’
      • ‘They are neither finite quantities nor quantities infinitely small, nor yet nothing.’
      • ‘Any probe must be made of some material and have a finite size.’
      • ‘Real gases are composed of molecules of finite size which attract each other.’
      • ‘Obviously, taking infinitesimal steps in the direction of the gradient would take forever, so some finite step size must be used.’
  • 2Grammar
    (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person.

    Contrasted with nonfinite
    • ‘In English, tense must be expressed in all finite verb phrases.’
    • ‘A temporal profile needs to be contributed by a finite verb, as in I walked into the garden, We drove towards the sea.’
    • ‘But we also don't call them finite complement clauses, though many linguists would.’
    • ‘Form a question and make it specific and finite so that the answer is easily recognizable.’
    • ‘Mini mission statements, nearly always written without benefit of finite verbs, are increasingly common.’


Late Middle English: from Latin finitus ‘finished’, past participle of finire (see finish).