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 sophisticated, cultured, and polished.

  • infinite

    That which is infinite has no end or any limits whatsoever.

  • define

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

  • confine

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

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