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finesse

[fi-ness]
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noun
  1. extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
  2. skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.
  3. a trick, artifice, or stratagem.
  4. 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.
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verb (used without object), fi·nessed, fi·ness·ing.
  1. to use finesse or artifice.
  2. to make a finesse at cards.
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verb (used with object), fi·nessed, fi·ness·ing.
  1. to bring about by finesse or artifice.
  2. to avoid; circumvent.
  3. to make a finesse with (a card).
  4. to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.
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Origin of finesse

1400–50; late Middle English: degree of excellence or purity < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fīnitia. See fine1, -ice

Synonyms

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1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for finessed

finesse

noun
  1. elegant skill in style or performance
  2. subtlety and tact in handling difficult situations
  3. 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
  4. a trick, artifice, or strategy
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verb
  1. to manage or bring about with finesse
  2. to play (a card) as a finesse
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French, from fin fine, delicate; see fine 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for finessed

finesse

v.

1746, originally as a term in whist; see finesse (n.). Related: Finessed; finessing.

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finesse

n.

1520s, from Middle French finesse "fineness, subtlety," from Old French fin "subtle, delicate" (see fine (adj.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper