The definition of Finance in Oxford Dictionaries is:

The management of large amounts of money, especially by governments or large companies.

its origin is:

Late Middle English: from Old French, from finer ‘make an end, settle a debt’, from fin ‘end’ (see fine). The original sense was ‘payment of a debt, compensation, or ransom’; later ‘taxation, revenue’. Current senses date from the 18th century, and reflect sense development in French.

So the keyword of finance‘s origin is the due overtime whereas the current meaning is about management.

How to understand the jump?

  • It still means: payment of a debt, compensation. I have no idea what you mean by "keyword of finance origin" and . In French, the meaning of la finance is the same as finance in English. And the verbs mean the same thing, too.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 23:19
  • 2
    It's a pretty obvious step from the amount it takes to pay off a debt to the amount of debt incurred, and another obvious step from that to the art of keeping your assets and liabilities in some sort of balance. Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


If you're looking for a way that can help you understand and remember this word better, here's how I would suggest you think of it. The English word finance comes from the Old French word finer which means to settle a debt (money you owe). When you're settling something, you manage to put an end to it. If you've settled your debt, you have successfully manged to get finished paying it off. In turn, the French finer traces its roots back to the Latin verb finire which, no surprise here, also means to put an end to something. That's where we get our verb to finish from, by the way. When you finish something, you're done with it.

So, we now have linked the word finance with the words end and finish. The last piece we need is an idiom to help us cook up a short paragraph containing all these ingredients. Have you heard of the expression make ends meet? This is a great expression to describe a situation where someone is not doing very well financially. Finally, here's the example that brings it all together:

I got this bank loan that I have to pay off, but my financial situation is so difficult right now that I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to pay it off. How can I pay off a debt of $100,000 by the end of this year if I'm barely making ends meet! The money I'm making with my current job is just not enough for that. Oh, man, I'm done! I'm finished! I'm a dead man!

I know, some might say that all this is just silly, but hey if it works for someone, what's wrong with it?

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