Origin of final

1300–50; 1915–20 for def 10; Middle English < Latin fīnālis, equivalent to fīn(is) end + -ālis -al1
Related formspseu·do·fi·nal, adjectivepseu·do·fi·nal·ly, adverbqua·si-fi·nal, adjective

Synonyms for final

1. See last1. 3. definite, irrevocable, irreversible, unalterable.

Antonyms for final Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for finals

Contemporary Examples of finals

Historical Examples of finals

  • Among the three who had reached the finals was their guest of the previous evening.

    The Highgrader

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The other two riders who had reached the finals were both experts in the saddle.

    The Highgrader

    William MacLeod Raine

  • Every week my finals and initials are held in many large towns.

  • My initials form a country in Europe, and my finals one of its lakes.

  • If I passed with higher credit in the preliminaries than in the finals, there are two reasons.

    Story of My Life

    Helen Keller

British Dictionary definitions for finals


pl n

the deciding part or parts of a sports or other competition
education the last examination series in an academic or professional course



of or occurring at the end; concluding; ultimate; last
having no possibility for further discussion, action, or change; conclusive; decisivea final decree of judgment
relating to or constituting an end or purposea final clause may be introduced by ``in order to''
phonetics at the end of a word``cat'' has a final ``t'' Compare medial (def. 1), initial (def. 1)
music another word for perfect (def. 9b)


a terminal or last thing; end
a deciding contest between the winners of previous rounds in a competition
music the tonic note of a church mode
See also finals

Word Origin for final

C14: from Latin fīnālis, from fīnis limit, boundary
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 finals

short for final exams, by 1890.



early 14c., from Old French final and directly from Latin finalis "of or pertaining to an end, concluding, final," from finis "end" (see finish). As a noun, late 14c., "that which comes last;" meaning "final contest" in a sporting sense is from 1880. As a shortening of final examination, from 1880.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with finals


see in the final analysis.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.