Definitions

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

  • adj. Having bounds; limited: a finite list of choices; our finite fossil fuel reserves.
  • adj. Existing, persisting, or enduring for a limited time only; impermanent.
  • adj. Mathematics Being neither infinite nor infinitesimal.
  • adj. Mathematics Having a positive or negative numerical value; not zero.
  • adj. Mathematics Possible to reach or exceed by counting. Used of a number.
  • adj. Mathematics Having a limited number of elements. Used of a set.
  • adj. Grammar Of or relating to any of the forms of a verb that can occur on their own in a main clause and that can formally express distinctions in person, number, tense, mood, and voice, often by means of conjugation, as the verb sees in She sees the sign.
  • n. A finite thing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Limited, constrained by bounds, impermanent

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a limit; limited in quantity, degree, or capacity; bounded; -- opposed to infinite

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not too great nor too small to be naturally susceptible of measurement, whether measurable by us or not; not infinite nor infinitesimal.
  • The following are the special significations of the word: As applied to a class or integer number, capable of being completely counted: this is the fundamental meaning. This distinction between a finite and an infinite class is very important, because there is a peculiar mode of reasoning, called by logicians reasoning by transposed quantity, which is applicable to finite classes alone. The following syllogism is an example: “Every Hottentot kills a Hottentot; but no Hottentot is killed by more than one Hottentot; hence, every Hottentot is killed by a Hottentot.” If by the Hottentots is here meant a class of which a complete census might be taken, this conclusion must be true, provided the premises are true. But if the generations of Hottentots are everlasting, each Hottentot might kill one of his children, and yet some Hottentots might die natural deaths. Reasoning by transposed quantity is indispensable in the higher arithmetic and algebra; and consequently in these branches of mathematics the distinction between finite and infinite classes is very important.
  • As applied to continuous quantity, smaller than a suitably chosen finite number multiplied into the unit of measurement, and larger than a suitably chosen finite number divided by the unit of measurement.
  • In grammar, limited by person; personal; strictly verbal; not infinitival nor participial.
  • Subject to limitations or conditions, such as those of space, time, circumstances, and the laws of nature: as, a finite being; finite existence or duration.
  • Of or pertaining or relating to finite beings: as, finite passions or interests.
  • In mathematics, an integral is said to be expressed in finite terms when it is expressed without resort to an infinite series, although it may be expressed by means of exponential, elliptic, or Abelian functions which are synonymous with infinite series; but frequently expressions involving higher kinds of functions than the exponential and trigonometric are excluded.
  • n. That which is finite; finite things collectively: used only with the definite article.
  • To limit; fix the limits of.

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

  • adj. of verbs; relating to forms of the verb that are limited in time by a tense and (usually) show agreement with number and person
  • adj. bounded or limited in magnitude or spatial or temporal extent

Etymologies

Middle English finit, from Latin fīnītus, past participle of fīnīre, to limit, from fīnis, end.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The mental creations held by You and I, and other finite minds, are but _finite creations of finite minds_, while WE, ourselves, are the finite creations of an

    A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga

  • Christopher Hill saying that the list of issues is now down to what he termed a finite set.

    CNN Transcript Aug 10, 2005

  • But it's still intriguing that Fitzgerald, for all his gifts, didn't perceive the word "finite" in definite, the way good spellers automatically do.

    NYT > Home Page

  • By the way, it's wrong to think a single individual can overtake a population of size infinity in finite time.

    The Weasel Thread

  • Todd B: Please specify a mathematical model that suggests it is even conceptually possible to front-load a natural system to get exactly one of a desired outcome (or even probably one) in finite time.

    Coyne: Appearance of Human Intelligence Contingent

  • Please specify a mathematical model that suggests it is even conceptually possible to front-load a natural system to get exactly one of a desired outcome (or even probably one) in finite time.

    Coyne: Appearance of Human Intelligence Contingent

  • (And speaking of crankery, the "population bombers" who have turned a blind eye to 2,000 years of evidence on this to instead sell absurd scare tales of "exponential growth of population until there are more people than atoms in finite world" sure have shown themselves as cranks in that regard.)

    Limits to Growth?, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Assuming that it's finite is at least as big an error as assuming that it's infinite.

    Learning from Lomborg, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Asserting that any material that is obviously in finite supply is not in finite supply is just nonsensical.

    Peak Oil Delayed Once Again « Tai-Chi Policy

  • The equations for this theory of quantum gravity are term-by-term finite, but the same mechanism that forces each term in the series to be finite also forces the entire series to be infinite i.e., infinities that would otherwise occur in spacetime, consequently destabilizing it, are transferred to the cosmological singularities, thereby preventing the universe from immediately collapsing into nonexistence.

    The Simulation Argument and Christianity « Anglican Samizdat

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Comments

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  • Captain Picard used this word when he was talking to an alien being about how humans lived.

    July 24, 2012