Finished in Spanish. It's surely not Finito, but might be

Finished in Spanish… ¿Finito, Completado, Terminado?


If you’ve ever told someone finito in Spanish and you weren’t intending to say “finite”, you have to read this!

As you read this blog post, you’ll self-identify with one of the following three camps:

  1. Camp 1 is the “What; finito isn’t how you say finished in Spanish!!!???” group.
  2. Camp 2 is the “I’ve never felt good about saying finito, but I admit I’ve said it once or twice…it just rolled off my tongue so easily” group.
  3. Camp 3 is the “Hmm…I’ve never been finished with anything in Spanish, but it’s nice to know in case I ever get there” group.

If I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a class with you, you know I love cognates. I even have fun making up words on occasion to get a laugh but, alas, finito is not the cognate you’re looking for.

I was working with a very proficient Spanish speaker the other day and I was reminded about this extremely common mistake when trying to communicate the idea of being finished or done in Spanish. I thought I would work it out for you here:

One verb and its participle you have to know: Terminar = to finish, Terminado(a) = finished. Check out how you can use terminar and terminado in the medical context:

  • Please finish all of your medication even if you feel better before it’s gone. = Favor de terminar toda la medicina aunque se sienta mejor antes de que se acabe.
  • Okay that’s it, we’re done = Bueno es todo, estamos terminados

Another verb you’ll find useful: Acabar(se) = to run out, end, or finish. Check out how you can use acabar and acabarse in the medical context:

  • When the medicine ran out, the patient called the doctor. = Cuando se acabó la medicina, el paciente llamó al doctor.
  • The treatment ends (finishes) next week = El tratamiento acaba la próxima semana.

What does finito mean anyway?

  • Finito means finite in Spanish. Use finito when you want to talk philosophically about your numbered days here on earth (morbid, I know sorry), or a limited range of options. If you want to talk about space or time, use the word infinito :).
  • Finito can also be the diminutive of fino meaning “thin” or “fine”. This might be used when you’re talking about a small thread, a fine wine, or those special fine-tip Sharpie pens that you buy for yourself and your kids always steal from you and you can never find them again – argh!

In most cases, the best word selection for finished or done is going to be some form of the words terminar or acabar.

Feel free to post other questions and uncertainties in our Medical Spanish forum – we’ll be glad to respond!

Btw: If you’re working on learning Spanish for your healthcare career, we have the medical Spanish you need!

2 thoughts on “Finished in Spanish… ¿Finito, Completado, Terminado?”

  1. Karen Munsell

    Hi Rory,
    I was wondering about the usage of acabo de? Is that totally different than acabarse? I always heard it to be used for “just” as in I just had it-Acabo de tenerlo or I just finished-Acabo de terminar. But when I look at that now, it doesn’t make sense to me. Can you comment on that?

    1. Hey Karen, you’ve got “acabo de (verb)” just right – it means “I just (verb)”. ex. Acabo de comer el desayuno = I just ate breakfast. ex. Ella acaba de llegar = She just arrived.

      So yes, the meaning is totally different from acabarse which is “to finish”, “run out”, “be over”.

      Great question! Keep up the good work :),

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