To finish something is to complete it or bring it to a conclusion. If you finished a race, you completed it — even if you didn’t come in first.

Finishing is about concluding. If you finished a novel, you read the whole thing. Finishing a job means the job is done. This word can also refer to a coating or polish used to make furniture look nicer or fancier. If you say someone has a finished look about them, they don’t actually have a coating or polish, of course — but the effect is the same. They have a clean, cultured, polished appearance.

Primary Meanings of finish

come or bring to a finish or an end
the act of finishing
provide with a finish
a decorative texture or appearance of a surface (or the substance that gives it that appearance)
(wine tasting) the taste of a wine on the back of the tongue (as it is swallowed)
Full Definitions of finish

v come or bring to a finish or an end

“He finished the dishes”
“The fastest runner finished the race in just over 2 hours”
“others finished in over 4 hours”
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finish a game in baseball by protecting a lead
top, top off
finish up or conclude
clear up, finish off, finish up, get through, mop up, polish off, wrap up
finish a task completely
see through
remain with until completion
finish out, round out
fill out
carry out, follow out, follow through, follow up, go through, implement, put through
pursue to a conclusion or bring to a successful issue
accomplish, action, carry out, carry through, execute, fulfil, fulfill
put in effect
cap off
finish or complete, as with some decisive action
follow through or carry out a plan without deviation
get over
to bring (a necessary but unpleasant task) to an end
carry out
make perfect; bring to perfection
fulfill sexually
do, perform
get (something) done
complete, discharge, dispatch
complete or carry out
Type of:
end, terminate
bring to an end or halt

v have an end, in a temporal, spatial, or quantitative sense; either spatial or metaphorical

cease, end, stop, terminate
begin, start
have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense
begin, start
have a beginning characterized in some specified way
have a beginning, of a temporal event
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pass away
go out of existence
end, at least for a long time
cut out
cease operating
go out
become extinguished
adjourn, break up, recess
close at the end of a session
disappear, vanish
cease to exist
climax, culminate
end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
run out
become used up; be exhausted
go, run low, run short
to be spent or finished
disappear, go away, vanish
become invisible or unnoticeable
close, conclude
come to a close
come out, turn out
result or end
come to or be at an end
come to an end
dematerialise, dematerialize
become immaterial; disappear
crown, top
be the culminating event
go away or disappear
bob under
disappear suddenly, as if under the surface of a body of water
come out in the end
work out
happen in a certain way, leading to, producing, or resulting in a certain outcome, often well
fizzle, fizzle out, peter out, taper off
end weakly
leave off
come to an end, stop or cease
expire, run out
lose validity

v cause to finish a relationship with somebody

“That finished me with Mary”
Type of:
end, terminate
bring to an end or halt

v finish eating all the food on one's plate or on the table

eat up, polish off
put away, tuck away, tuck in
eat up; usually refers to a considerable quantity of food
Type of:
take in solid food

v finally be or do something

end up, fetch up, finish up, land up, wind up
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

n the act of finishing

“his best finish in a major tournament was third”
“the speaker's finishing was greeted with applause”
beginning, commencement, start
the act of starting something
close, closing curtain, finale, finis
the concluding part of any performance
Type of:
closing, completion, culmination, mop up, windup
a concluding action

n the temporal end; the concluding time

“the market was up at the finish
close, conclusion, finale, finis, last, stopping point
Type of:
end, ending
the point in time at which something ends

n event whose occurrence ends something

“when these final episodes are broadcast it will be the finish of the show”
conclusion, ending
the event consisting of the start of something
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end, final stage, last
the concluding parts of an event or occurrence
final result, outcome, result, resultant, termination
something that results
foregone conclusion, matter of course
an inevitable ending
demolition, destruction, wipeout
an event (or the result of an event) that completely destroys something
Z, omega
the ending of a series or sequence
halt, stop
the event of something ending
triumph, victory
a successful ending of a struggle or contest
defeat, licking
an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest
end game, endgame
the final stages of a chess game after most of the pieces have been removed from the board
end game, endgame
the final stages of an extended process of negotiation
the end of an enterprise
the end of something
the outcome of a complex sequence of events
the type of treatment received (especially as the result of an agreement)
the outcome of a game or contest
(boxing) a victory won on points when no knockout has occurred
aftermath, consequence
the outcome of an event especially as relative to an individual
just deserts, poetic justice
an outcome in which virtue triumphs over vice (often ironically)
the termination of employment (by resignation or dismissal)
sequel, subsequence
something that follows something else
the least favorable outcome
annihilation, disintegration
total destruction
eradication, obliteration
the complete destruction of every trace of something
depredation, ravage
(usually plural) a destructive action
razing, wrecking
the event of a structure being completely demolished and leveled
ruin, ruination
an event that results in destruction
rack, wrack
the destruction or collapse of something
a victory (as in a race or other competition)
cessation, surcease
a stopping
stand, standstill, tie-up
an interruption of normal activity
fall, pin
when a wrestler's shoulders are forced to the mat
the successful ending of the American Revolution
an overwhelming electoral victory
last laugh
ultimate success achieved after a near failure (inspired by the saying `he laughs best who laughs last')
Pyrrhic victory
a victory that is won by incurring terrible losses
slam, sweep
winning all or all but one of the tricks in bridge
complete victory
blowout, laugher, romp, runaway, shoo-in, walkaway
an easy victory
service break
a tennis game won on the opponent's service
walk-in, waltz
an assured victory (especially in an election)
a narrow defeat or a defeat at the last minute
a decisive defeat in a game (especially in cribbage)
an overwhelming defeat
shutout, skunk
a defeat in a game where one side fails to score
debacle, drubbing, slaughter, thrashing, trouncing, walloping, whipping
a sound defeat
a final crushing defeat
a defeat in which the losing person or team fails to score
Type of:
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
an event that happens

n designated event that concludes a contest (especially a race)

“excitement grew as the finish neared”
“my horse was several lengths behind at the finish
“the winner is the team with the most points at the finish
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draw, standoff, tie
the finish of a contest in which the score is tied and the winner is undecided
photo finish
in general, any very close finish; in particular, a finish of a race in which the contestants are so close together that the winner must be determined from a photograph taken at the instant of finishing
runner-up finish, second-place finish
a finish in second place (as in a race)
third-place finish
a finish in third place (as in a race)
dead heat
a tie in a race
drawing position in chess: any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check
Type of:
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
an event that happens

n the place designated as the end (as of a race or journey)

“a crowd assembled at the finish
destination, goal
finish line, finishing line
a line indicating the location of the finish of a race
the finishing line for a foot race
the finishing line on a racetrack
Type of:
end, terminal
either extremity of something that has length

n the downfall of someone (as of persons on one side of a conflict)

“booze will be the finish of him”
“it was a fight to the finish
Type of:
downfall, ruin, ruination
failure that results in a loss of position or reputation

v provide with a finish

“The carpenter finished the table beautifully”
“this shirt is not finished properly”
put a finish on
finish with a broom
Type of:
coat, surface
put a coat on; cover the surface of; furnish with a surface

n a decorative texture or appearance of a surface (or the substance that gives it that appearance)

“the boat had a metallic finish
“he applied a coat of a clear finish
“when the finish is too thin it is difficult to apply evenly”
coating, finishing
a coating for ceramics, metal, etc.
a shiny finish put on shoes with polish and buffing
luster, lustre
a surface coating for ceramics or porcelain
Type of:
an appearance that serves to decorate and make something more attractive

n a highly developed state of perfection; having a flawless or impeccable quality

“"almost an inspiration which gives to all work that finish which is almost art"--Joseph Conrad”
cultivation, culture, polish, refinement
Type of:
flawlessness, ne plus ultra, perfection
the state of being without a flaw or defect

n (wine tasting) the taste of a wine on the back of the tongue (as it is swallowed)

“the wine has a nutty flavor and a pleasant finish
Type of:
gustatory perception, gustatory sensation, taste, taste perception, taste sensation
the sensation that results when taste buds in the tongue and throat convey information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus