Finesse – savvy in action

January 3, 2016

___ The word finesse originates via the Old French “fine” and an English reference to “fine-ness.”

It may refer to a characteristic or quality, or to an action — or even take hand in card games like Whist or Bridge.

“Finesse” derives from the Old French word fin, meaning “fine” or “delicate.” According to, early examples of “finesse” in English are spellings of “fineness.”

American Heritage dictionary definitions include:
“Finesse” as a noun
1.  Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship.

2. Skillful, subtle handling of a situation; tactful, diplomatic maneuvering.
3. 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.
— “Finesse” as a verb
1. To use finesse.

2. To make a finesse in cards.

A person with “finesse” may be purely classy and tactful; another person may use “finesse” as a form of influence. defines “finesse”
The definition of finesse is skillful, artful or diplomatic handling of something that might be difficult for others.
To finesse is defined as to do something skillfully or slyly, especially something that requires delicacy.

Usage examples
● The receptionist showed more finesse than the office manager when addressing customer complaints.

● He finessed the board to approve larger local charity donations.


Do you use finesse to handle difficult situations?


This Jacquée T. Writer in Residence featured Word is brought to you by supporting sponsors including locally-owned Candlewood Suites in Emporia Kansas.

*** Jacquée T. selects and schedules each featured Word in the spirit of writing, reading, and of improved expression. Love for Words sponsors support her schedule and selection as a whole, and the spirit of this series.

Leave a Reply