end, form a boundary

Quick Summary

The Latin root word fin means an ‘end,’ as in a ‘boundary’ or ‘limit.’ Some common English vocabulary words that come from this Latin root word include final, finish, and definition. Perhaps the easiest way to remember that this root word means ‘end’ is through the word infinite, since something infinite has no ‘end!’

The Final Word

The Latin root word fin means an ‘end,’ as in a ‘boundary’ or ‘limit.’

All students know that a final exam is taken at the ‘end’ of a course. Likewise, all those who go to a music concert know that the finale marks the ‘end’ of a composition. When you enter a race, the finish line marks the ‘end’ of it.

Something that is infinite in size has no ‘end’ at all. The idea behind infinity is that there is no ‘end’ or ‘limit’ to it whatsoever! Whereas infinity indicates incomprehensibly boundless size, something that has no ‘end’ about how small it can be is infinitesimal. When something’s size is confined, however, it has a thorough ‘end,’ for a ‘boundary’ has been set up around it.

So, what exactly is a definition? A dictionary definition marks the ‘end’ or ‘limit’ to the meanings that a given word has! If the description of something is indefinite, on the other hand, it has no perceivable ‘end’ or ‘boundary,’ and thus is unclear.

Let’s continue with some more examples of English vocabulary which illustrate that the Latin root word fin means ‘end.’ If your teacher says that you have done a fine job on something, she means that it has been nicely finished, or given a grand ‘end,’ just as a well-sharpened pencil has a fine or finished point, being given a perfect ‘end.’

An oil refinery refines or processes oil to its usable ‘end.’ Since there ultimately is a finite amount of oil, that is, there will eventually be an ‘end’ to it, oil refineries will not be around forever.

Have you ever met someone who is really picky, or really finicky? A finicky person’s ‘boundaries’ are a little too fine, since they are so very difficult to please—there is no ‘end’ to a finicky person’s demands!

OK, I will now bring an ‘end’ to this discussion, since we are finally done! Now you will be well prepared for defining words that use fin, knowing exactly what their ‘ends’ or ‘limits’ are!

  1. final: pertaining to an ‘end’
  2. finale: an ‘end’ to something
  3. finish: an ‘end’
  4. infinite: having no ‘end’ or ‘limit’
  5. infinity: mathematical entity having no ‘end’
  6. infinitesimal: pertaining to something having no ‘end’ to its smallness
  7. confine: provide a thorough ‘boundary’ for, or ‘end’ beyond which one cannot pass
  8. definition: a ‘boundary’ or ‘end’ for the meaning of a word
  9. indefinite: not having an ‘end’ or ‘boundary’
  10. fine: brought to a good ‘end’
  11. refinery: industrial plant where a crude substance is processed thoroughly to a usable ‘end’
  12. finite: quality of having an ‘end’ to something
  13. finicky: pertaining to someone who has too many ‘limiting’ boundaries


  • finesse

    If someone exhibits finesse in something, they do it with great skill and care; this most often refers to handling difficult situations that might easily offend people.

  • affinity

    When you have an affinity for something, you have a natural liking for or connection to it.

  • definitive

    A definitive opinion on an issue cannot be challenged; therefore, it is the final word or the most authoritative pronouncement on that issue.

  • infinitesimal

    Something infinitesimal is so extremely small or minute that it is very hard to measure it.

  • finite

    A finite quantity is limited or restricted to a particular size or amount.

  • refined

    Someone who is refined is very well educated; they understand much about cultures around the world.

  • infinite

    Something infinite has no end or any limits at all.

  • define

    When you define something, such as a word, you state or explain its meaning.

  • confine

    When you confine someone, you limit where they can go or what they can do.

  • confinement

    concluding state of pregnancy

  • confines

    a bounded scope

  • defining

    any process serving to define the shape of something

  • definite


  • definiteness

    the quality of being predictable with great confidence

  • definition

    a concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol

  • final

    occurring at or forming an end or termination

  • finale

    the closing section of a musical composition

  • finalize

    make final

  • finally

    after an unspecified period of time or an especially long delay

  • finance

    obtain or provide money for

  • financial

    involving financial matters

  • fine

    issue a ticket or a fine to as a penalty

  • fineness

    the quality of being very good indeed

  • finery

    elaborate or showy attire and accessories

  • finicky

    exacting especially about details

  • finish

    the act of finishing

  • indefinable

    not capable of being precisely or readily described

  • indefinite

    vague or not clearly defined or stated

  • infinity

    time without end

  • quarterfinals

    the series of contests twice removed from the final match of a contest

  • refine

    improve or perfect by pruning or polishing

  • refinement

    a highly developed state of perfection

  • refinery

    an industrial plant for purifying a crude substance

  • semifinal

    one of the two competitions in the next to the last round of an elimination tournament

  • semifinals

    the last two matches prior to a final match

  • superfine

    of extremely fine size or texture

  • undefined

    not precisely limited, determined, or distinguished

  • unfinished

    not brought to the desired final state

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