extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.
a trick, artifice, or stratagem.
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.
to use finesse or artifice.
to make a finesse at cards.
verb (used with object), finessed, finessing.
to bring about by finesse or artifice.
to avoid; circumvent.
to make a finesse with (a card).
to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.

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

1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To finesse
World English Dictionary
finesse (fɪˈnɛs)
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
5.  to manage or bring about with finesse
6.  to play (a card) as a finesse
[C15: from Old French, from fin fine, delicate; see fine1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1528, from M.Fr. finesse "fineness, subtlety," from O.Fr. fin "subtle, delicate" (see fine (adj.)). The verb is first attested 1746.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
There would be no need to maneuver or to adjust the approach for any reason other than to finesse the touchdown itself.
They give you the means to psychologically finesse ambiguous outside reality.
When the queen was declarer, she won the first club in dummy to finesse with the queen of spades.
Baseball was a different game then, built more on speed and finesse than power.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature