fine (adj.)

mid-13c., "unblemished, refined, pure, free of impurities," also "of high quality, choice," from Old French fin "perfected, of highest quality" (12c.), a back-formation from finire or else from Latin finis "that which divides, a boundary, limit, border, end" (see finish (v.)); hence "acme, peak, height," as in finis boni "the highest good." The English word is from c. 1300 as "rich, valuable, costly;" also in a moral sense "true, genuine; faithful, constant." From late 14c. as "expertly fashioned, well or skillfully made," also, of cloth, "delicately wrought." Of weapons or edges, "sharp" from c. 1400. In reference to quality of gold and silver, late 15c.

In French, the main meaning remains "delicate, intricately skillful;" in English since c. 1300 fine has been also a general broad expression of admiration or approval, the equivalent of French beau (as in fine arts, "those which appeal to the mind and the imagination," 1767, translating French beaux-arts). Related: Finer; finest. Fine print is from 1861 as "type small and close-set;" by 1934 in the extended sense "qualifications and limitations of a deal."

fine (n.)

c. 1200, "termination, end; end of life," from Old French fin "end, limit, boundary; death; fee, payment, finance, money" (10c.), from Latin finis "end" (see finish (v.)), in Medieval Latin also "payment in settlement, fine or tax."

Modern meaning "exaction of money payment for an offense or dereliction" is via sense of "sum of money paid for exemption from punishment or to compensate for injury" (mid-14c., from the same sense in Anglo-French, late 13c.) and from phrases such as to make fine "make one's peace, settle a matter" (c. 1300). Meaning "sum of money imposed as penalty for some offense" is first recorded 1520s.

fine (v.)

late 13c., "pay as a ransom or penalty," from fine (n.). Inverted meaning "to punish by pecuniary penalty" is from 1550s. Related: Fined; fining.

updated on February 11, 2017

Definitions of fine from WordNet
fine (adj.)
being satisfactory or in satisfactory condition;
another minute I'd have been fine
dinner and the movies had been fine
everything's fine
Synonyms: all right / O.K. / ok / okay / hunky-dory / cool
fine (adj.)
minutely precise especially in differences in meaning;
a fine distinction
fine (adj.)
thin in thickness or diameter;
fine hairs
a fine film of oil
read the fine print
fine (adj.)
characterized by elegance or refinement or accomplishment;
fine wine
a fine violinist
looking fine in her Easter suit
fine china and crystal
the fine hand of a master
a fine gentleman
fine (adj.)
of textures that are smooth to the touch or substances consisting of relatively small particles;
fine powdery snow
covered with a fine film of dust
wood with a fine grain
batiste is a cotton fabric with a fine weave
fine rain
fine (adj.)
free from impurities; having a high or specified degree of purity;
gold 21 carats fine
fine (adv.)
an expression of agreement normally occurring at the beginning of a sentence;
Synonyms: very well / alright / all right / ok
fine (adv.)
in a delicate manner;
her fine drawn body
Synonyms: finely / delicately / exquisitely
fine (v.)
issue a ticket or a fine to as a penalty;
I was fined for parking on the wrong side of the street
Synonyms: ticket
fine (n.)
money extracted as a penalty;
Synonyms: mulct / amercement
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.