• synonyms


See more synonyms for finesse on Thesaurus.com
  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.
Show More
verb (used without object), fi·nessed, fi·ness·ing.
  1. to use finesse or artifice.
  2. to make a finesse at cards.
Show More
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.
Show More

Origin of finesse

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

Synonyms for finesse

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for finesse

guile, acumen, subtlety, tact, sophistication, quickness, savvy, skill, competence, stratagem, adroitness, diplomacy, artifice, racket, polish, gimmick, ruse, cleverness, adeptness, discretion

Examples from the Web for finesse

Contemporary Examples of finesse

Historical Examples of finesse

  • As he was clumsy in finesse, she understood his idea, and her eyes flashed.

  • We see nothing but nature; not a particle of false delicacy or finesse.

  • Through his father's finesse, Paul moved in select London circles.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee

  • The public taste condones it, may even be said to relish it to finesse.


    David Christie Murray

  • However, I have no doubt that with a little delicacy and finesse the end may be attained.

British Dictionary definitions for finesse


  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
Show More
  1. to manage or bring about with finesse
  2. to play (a card) as a finesse
Show More

Word Origin for finesse

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 finesse


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

Show More

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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper