Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to fine

finish (v.)
late 14c., "to bring to an end;" mid-15c., "to come to an end" (intransitive), from Old French finiss-, present participle stem of fenir "stop, finish, come to an end; die" (13c.), from Latin finire "to limit, set bounds; put an end to; come to an end," from finis "that which divides, a boundary, border," figuratively "a limit, an end, close, conclusion; an extremity, highest point; greatest degree," which is of unknown origin, perhaps related to figere "to fasten, fix" (see fix (v.)). Meaning "to kill, terminate the existence of" is from 1755.
Advertisement
finely (adv.)
early 14c., "perfectly, completely," from fine (adj.) + -ly (1). Meaning "delicately, minutely" is from 1540s; that of "excellently" is from 1680s.
fineness (n.)
c. 1400, from fine (adj.) + -ness.
finery (n.)
1670s, "showy dress," from fine (adj.) + -ery. Literally, "something that is fine."
finesse (n.)

1520s, "fineness" (obsolete); 1530s, "artifice, delicate stratagem," from French finesse "fineness, subtlety," from Old French fin "subtle, delicate" (see fine (adj.)).

fine-toothed (adj.)
c. 1600, "epicurean, having delicate tastes," from fine (adj.) + toothed "having teeth" (of a certain kind); see tooth (n.). By 1703 as "having fine teeth" (of a saw, file, comb, etc.); fine-tooth in this sense attested from 1804.
fine-tune (v.)
also fine-tune, 1969, a back-formation from fine-tuning (1909 in reference to radio; earlier in various machinery contexts). From fine (adj.) + tune (v.). Related: Fine-tuning.
finicky (adj.)
1825, "dainty, mincing," from finical "too particular" (1590s), which perhaps is from fine (adj.) + -ical as in cynical, ironical (OED says "ultimate derivation" from the adjective "seems probable"). But finikin (1660s) "dainty, precise in trifles" has been proposed as a source, even though the timing is off. It apparently comes from Dutch; compare Middle Dutch fijnkens (adv.) "precisely, exactly," from fijn, cognate with English fine (adj.).

The -k- between the final -c- and a suffix beginning in -i, -y, or -e is an orthographic rule to mark the pronunciation of -c- as "k" (compare picnicking, trafficking, panicky, shellacked). Related: Finickiness.
pretty (adj.)

Middle English pratie "cunning, crafty, clever" (c. 1300 as a surname), from Old English prættig (West Saxon), pretti (Kentish), *prettig (Mercian) "cunning, skillful, artful, wily, astute," from prætt, *prett "a trick, wile, craft," from Proto-Germanic *pratt- (source also of Old Norse prettr "a trick," prettugr "tricky;" Frisian pret, Middle Dutch perte, Dutch pret "trick, joke," Dutch prettig "sportive, funny," Flemish pertig "brisk, clever"), a word of unknown origin.

The connection between the Old English and Middle English words "has several points of obscurity" [OED], and except in surnames there is no record of it 13c.-14c., but they generally are considered the same. The meaning had expanded by c. 1400 to "manly, gallant," also "ingeniously or cleverly made," to "fine, pleasing to the aesthetic sense," to "beautiful in a slight way" (mid-15c.). Also used of bees (c. 1400). For sense evolution, compare nice, silly, neat (adj.), fair (adj.).

Pretty applies to that which has symmetry and delicacy, a diminutive beauty, without the higher qualities of gracefulness, dignity, feeling, purpose, etc. A thing not small of its kind may be called pretty if it is of little dignity or consequence: as a pretty dress or shade of color; but pretty is not used of men or their belongings, except in contempt. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

Of things, "fine, pleasing" 1560s. Ironical use is from 1530s (compare ironical use of fine (adj.)). The meaning "not a few, considerable, moderately large in quantity, number, extent, or duration" is from late 15c. Pretty please as an emphatic plea is attested from 1902. A pretty penny "lot of money" is recorded from 1703.

refine (v.)

"to bring or reduce to a pure state or a condition of purity as full as possible," 1580s of metals; c. 1590 of manners ("purify from what is coarse, low, vulgar, inelegant, etc.;" from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix, + obsolete fine (v.) "make fine," from fine (adj.) "delicate." Compare French raffiner, Italian raffinare, Spanish refinar. General and figurative sense is recorded from 1590s; of sugar from 1610s. Intransitive sense of "become pure" is from c. 1600. Related: Refined; refining.