Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to finish: finish off
finish (something) on a high note
To finish, complete, or leave (something) at a successful, impressive, or climactic point. I know we've had quite a few losses this season, but let's win this last game and finish on a high note! After winning the Oscar, she decided to finish her career on a high note.
The end of a competition in which one participant comes from behind at the last minute to win. The phrase refers to US jockey Edward "Snapper" Garrison, who was known for securing such last-minute victories. That race sure had a Garrison finish—one of the runners came all the way from fifth place to win!
ahead of schedule
Earlier than a given deadline. Since the contractor and his crew completed the renovations ahead of schedule, we were able to move into the house before winter arrived. Repaying your loan ahead of schedule will save you money in the long term by reducing the amount of interest you'll have to pay.
1. To finish the last part of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "finish" and "off." Here, take the last piece and finish off the pie. Printing is the last step in finishing off this project, thank goodness.
2. To end something in a particular way. A noun or pronoun can be used between "finish" and "off." They finished off the reception with one last slow dance.
3. To kill someone or something that is wounded and near death. A noun or pronoun can be used between "finish" and "off." You need to finish off the deer you've shot—don't let it suffer.
be in at the finish
To be included in the ending or culmination of something. I hoped to be in at the finish of this movie shoot, but I guess the director had other plans.
The last detail added or change made to something to make it complete. Let's not spend too much longer on this. Let's just put the finishing touch on it and get it ready for production. He's been putting the finishing touches on that painting for so long now, I'm starting to think he'll never be satisfied with it.
a fight to the finish
Any struggle for success (as a contest, competition, match, debate, election, argument, etc.) between two or more people that remains closely and vigorously fought until one party is defeated at the very final moment. With her opponent's sudden surge in the polls, it looks like this election is going to be a fight to the finish. It was truly a fight to the finish, with New England managing a field goal in the final seconds of the game to secure their victory.
1. To end or conclude. When do you think the dinner party will finish up? I think the caterers need the room. The concert should finish up around 11.
2. To stop working on someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "finish" and "up." My 10:30 client was a cut and color so I'm just finishing her up now. The boss wants to know how much time you need to finish up the report.
lick and a promise
A hasty, superficial, or careless effort. I told the intern to give the proofreading a lick and a promise, as we were supposed to have the book out weeks ago. I didn't have time to clean the entire house before my parents arrived, so I just did it with a lick and a promise.
nice guys finish last
Those who are overly pleasant, considerate, or deferential will not be as successful as those willing to be more ruthless. Nice guys finish last in this industry—if you aren't prepared to step on a few toes, you're never going to get anywhere.
in at the death
1. Literally, witnessing the killing of an animal. I refuse to be in at the death of an innocent deer just because you like hunting.
2. By extension, witnessing the end or collapse of something. Did you hear that Joe's proposal got rejected? Was anyone in at the death?
See also: death
in at the finish
Included in the ending or culmination of something. I hoped to be in at the finish of this movie shoot, but I guess the director had other plans.
*ahead of schedule
Fig. having done something before the time given on a schedule or before the expected time. (*Typically: be ~; finish ~.) I want to be able to finish the job ahead of schedule.
finish (someone or an animal) off
to kill someone or an animal that is already injured or wounded. They had to finish the wounded bear off with a revolver. The hunter finished off the bear.
finish someone or something off
Fig. to complete some activity being performed on someone or something. Let's finish this one off and go home. Yes, let's finish off this one. Nancy is cutting Elaine's hair. When she finishes her off, she will be ready to leave.
finish someone or something up
Fig. to finish doing something to someone or something. I will finish this typing up in a few minutes. She finished up Fred in a short time.
(something) by doing something to bring something to a conclusion by doing something. She finished the lecture by naming her sources. Sharon finished by reading a poem.
finish something off
Fig. to eat or drink up all of something; to eat or drink up the last portion of something. Let's finish the turkey off. You finish off the turkey. I've had enough.
finish (something) off (with something)
to bring something to a conclusion with something. She finished the dinner off with fancy cheeses and fruit. She finished off the dinner with pie.
finish with something
to complete something; to become done with something. I will finish with fixing this soon, and then you can have it. When will this be finished with?
a final adjustment of something; some effort or action that completes something. Norm is in his workshop putting the finishing touches on his latest project.
from start to finish
Fig. entirely; throughout. I disliked the whole business from start to finish. Mary caused problems from start to finish.
Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.
Prov. A reply to someone who wants you to do a task for which you lack the equipment. How am I supposed to wash the upstairs windows without a ladder? Give us the tools, and we will finish the job!
He who begins many things, finishes but few.
Prov. If you start a lot of projects, you will not have time and energy to complete them all. (Can be used to warn someone against starting too many projects.) Sarah's room is littered with sweaters and mittens she started to knit but never finished, a testament to the fact that she who begins many things, finishes but few.
*lick and a promise
Fig. a hasty bit of work; a quick once-over. (*Typically: finish something with ~; give something ~.) I was pressed for time, so I just gave the housework a lick and a promise. Mary spent so much time on her history paper that she had to finish her math homework with a lick and a promise.
Nice guys finish last.
Prov. You will never be able to get what you want by being kind and considerate. The unscrupulous salesman advised his trainees, "Don't worry if you have to lie about the product to get the customer to buy it. Nice guys finish last."
A small change or addition that serves to complete something. For example, The room still needed a few finishing touches, such as a flower arrangement. This expression is sometimes put as a finishing stroke. [c. 1700]
from soup to nuts
Also, from A to Z or start to finish or stem to stern . From beginning to end, throughout, as in We went through the whole agenda, from soup to nuts, or She had to learn a whole new system from A to Z, or It rained from start to finish, or We did over the whole house from stem to stern. The first expression, with its analogy to the first and last courses of a meal, appeared in slightly different forms (such as from potage to cheese) from the 1500s on; the precise wording here dates only from the mid-1900s. The second expression alludes to the first and last letters of the Roman alphabet; see also alpha and omega. The third comes from racing and alludes to the entire course of the race; it dates from the mid-1800s. The last variant is nautical, alluding to the front or stem, and rear or stern, of a vessel.
in at the death
Also, in at the finish or kill . Involved in or present at the end, especially a disastrous end but sometimes merely the climax of an important event. For example, He had a hand in their breakup, but he didn't want to be in at the death, or They've done really well this year, and we want to be in at the kill. These expressions originally alluded to hunters and hounds being present at the death of a fox they had run to ground. [First half of 1700s]
See also: death
nice guys finish lastAMERICAN
People say nice guys finish last to mean that people who behave in a fair and pleasant way will not be successful in a competitive situation. Our culture rewards aggressive types — after all, we all know nice guys finish last.
a fight to the finisha fight, contest, or match which only ends with the complete defeat of one of the parties involved.
from soup to nutsfrom beginning to end; completely. North American informal
Soup is likely to feature as the first course of a formal meal, while a selection of nuts may be offered as the final one.
be in at the ˈfinishbe present when something ends: I was one of the first people on this project and I certainly want to be in at the finish.
the finishing ˈtouch(es)the final details that make something complete: We’ve been putting the finishing touches to the party decorations.
from ˌsoup to ˈnuts(American English, informal) from beginning to end: She told me the whole story from soup to nuts.
This refers to a long meal that often begins with soup and ends with nuts.
1. To complete the last part of a task or process: The staff finished off the final items on the agenda and ended the meeting. The crew finished the cleaning tasks off before leaving for the day.
2. To consume the last part of something, such as food or a resource: I finished off that last piece of bread. We finished the cake off.
3. To finish something in a particular way: We finished off the hot day with one final swim. The teacher finished the semester off with a big party.
1. To conclude something; bring something to an end: We finished up dinner and took the dirty dishes to the kitchen. The council finished the meeting up by stating when the next meeting would occur.
2. To conclude; end: The meeting finished up at 11:00. Finish up reading your book, already—it's late!
lick and a promise
A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm.
lick and a promise
A superficial effort. Rather than wash themselves thoroughly to their parents' satisfaction, youngsters who were in a rush would splash on a little water and say they'd do a better job later. The phrase was extended to apply to any fast and incomplete job.