Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship.
  • n. Skillful, subtle handling of a situation; tactful, diplomatic maneuvering.
  • n. A method of leading up to a tenace, as in bridge, in order to prevent an opponent from winning the trick with an intermediate card.
  • n. A stratagem in which one appears to decline an advantage.
  • transitive v. To accomplish by the use of finesse.
  • transitive v. To handle with a deceptive or evasive strategy.
  • transitive v. To play (a card) as a finesse.
  • intransitive v. To use finesse.
  • intransitive v. To make a finesse in cards.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The property of having grace, elegance, skill, or balance.
  • n. Skill in handling of a situation.
  • n. An adroit maneuver.
  • n. A technique which allows one to promote tricks based on a favorable position of one or more cards in the hands of the opponent.
  • v. To play (a card) as a finesse (see noun sense above).
  • v. To handle or manage carefully or skillfully.
  • v. To evade.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Subtilty of contrivance to gain a point; artifice; stratagem.
  • n. The act of finessing. See Finesse, v. i., 2.
  • intransitive v. To use artifice or stratagem.
  • intransitive v. To attempt, when second or third player, to make a lower card answer the purpose of a higher, when an intermediate card is out, risking the chance of its being held by the opponent yet to play.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To use artifice or fine stratagem.
  • In whist-playing, to attempt to take a trick by finesse.
  • In whist-playing, to practise or perform a finesse with: as, to finesse a king, a knave, etc.
  • n. Artifice; delicate stratagem; subtlety of contrivance; also, that quality of mind or character which leads to subtle actions.
  • n. In whist, the play (usually by the third hand, but occasionally by the second) of a card (say C) of the suit led, lower than another (A) in the hand, in the hope that an unplayed card (B) of intermediate value, whose position is still unknown, may be found to lie to the right, so that the trick may be taken by the card C while A is reserved to take B.
  • n. Fineness of perception.
  • n. Synonyms Artifice, Manæuver, etc. (see artifice); skill, artfulness, adroitness, craft, subterfuge.
  • n. In the fine arts, subtlety and delicacy in color or form.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. subtly skillful handling of a situation

Etymologies

French, fineness, subtlety, from fin, fine; see fine1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Middle French finesse, from Old French fin ("fine"). (Wiktionary)

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