Finish is a word that has many classroom uses but that can also add color and precision to writing or speech. In school, students need to finish a test, finish an assignment, finish lunch, finish one task before they move on to another. In this sense, finish is a verb that refers to the completion of an activity.
Finish can also serve as a noun, and it is found in a variety of interesting phrases and expressions. One might notice the sparkling finish of the paint on a new car, or the scratched finish of an antique wood table. A “photo finish” would be a very close race in which the winner could only be determined by examining a photo of the last moment. Pie with ice cream is an excellent finish to a delicious meal.
Finish comes from the Middle English word fenys, which is related to the Latin word finire. In Spanish there is the word finito, an adjective meaning “finite.” At a glance, finish and finito look like cognates, but they are actually false cognates. The Spanish word for finish is terminar. Terminar is the cognate of terminate, a synonym of finish. In English, terminate is a more academic word. In this case, knowing the Spanish word terminar helps ELL students learn the more advanced word terminate. There are also content specific words related to terminate, such as terminus in electricity, or bus terminal.