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According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word finesse is as follows:

refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture

Now, based on the fact that the Latin base fin means end in English, I always intuitively assumed that the word had connotations with such concepts as: "finishing touch, attention to the end-product, and taking special care of the final details in a craft or situation". Are my perceptions of the word's associative properties a stretch of the imagination, or correctly guided?

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It's not fin as in "end", it's fin as in "fine". Ultimately both are from the same Latin word, but that is entirely irrelevant to their present-day meaning in English, see etymological fallacy. – RegDwigнt Mar 4 '13 at 11:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The French loan-word finesse (also per the OED Pr. and Sp. fineza, Cat. finesa, Ital. finezza) derives from common Romance *finitia, from fino meaning — brace yourself now — “fine”.

So it just means fineness. This in turn was a back-formation from finire, meaning to finish.

One might as well ask why fine finishings aren’t doubly ended.

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Thank you, that was enlightening, and witty. [= – eazar001 Mar 4 '13 at 11:30

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