from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship.
  • noun Skillful, subtle handling of a situation; tactful, diplomatic maneuvering.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A stratagem in which one appears to decline an advantage.
  • intransitive verb To accomplish by the use of finesse.
  • intransitive verb To handle with a deceptive or evasive strategy.
  • intransitive verb To play (a card) as a finesse.
  • intransitive verb To use finesse.
  • intransitive verb To make a finesse in cards.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Artifice; delicate stratagem; subtlety of contrivance; also, that quality of mind or character which leads to subtle actions.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Fineness of perception.
  • noun Synonyms Artifice, Manæuver, etc. (see artifice); skill, artfulness, adroitness, craft, subterfuge.
  • noun In the fine arts, subtlety and delicacy in color or form.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Subtilty of contrivance to gain a point; artifice; stratagem.
  • noun (Whist Playing) The act of finessing. See Finesse, v. i., 2.
  • intransitive verb To use artifice or stratagem.
  • intransitive verb (Whist Playing) 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun subtly skillful handling of a situation


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

[French, fineness, subtlety, from fin, fine; see fine.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Middle French finesse, from Old French fin ("fine").


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