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finesse

[fi-ness] /fɪˈnɛss/
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.
verb (used without object), finessed, finessing.
5.
to use finesse or artifice.
6.
to make a finesse at cards.
verb (used with object), finessed, finessing.
7.
to bring about by finesse or artifice.
8.
to avoid; circumvent.
9.
to make a finesse with (a card).
10.
to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.
Origin
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English: degree of excellence or purity < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fīnitia. See fine1, -ice
Synonyms
1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for finesse
  • There would be no need to maneuver or to adjust the approach for any reason other than to finesse the touchdown itself.
  • Baseball was a different game then, built more on speed and finesse than power.
  • She lacks the quickness of her opponents but has more finesse.
  • They give you the means to psychologically finesse ambiguous outside reality.
  • And anyone in government will tell you that information, when wielded with finesse, begets power.
  • South then had only seven winners and had to try the spade finesse.
  • When the queen was declarer, she won the first club in dummy to finesse with the queen of spades.
  • He could try the heart finesse or, if the spirit so moved him, play for a major-suit squeeze.
  • She has thrived as a ballad singer, alternately celebrated for her finesse and dismissed as bland.
  • Yet even these can rise to wit if turned with finesse.
British Dictionary definitions for finesse

finesse

/fɪˈnɛs/
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
verb
5.
to manage or bring about with finesse
6.
to play (a card) as a finesse
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from fin fine, delicate; see fine1
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
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Word Origin and History for finesse
n.

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

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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