and finally: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘and finally’ mean?

The idiom "and finally" is used to introduce the last or concluding point in a series or argument. It signifies the end of a sequence of events or ideas, highlighting the ultimate or most significant element in the series.

Idiom Explorer

Unveiling the Last Straw

The idiom "and finally" is a common phrase in the English language. It is used to indicate the last or concluding part of a sequence or explanation. This idiomatic expression is derived from the adverb "finally," which signifies the ultimate or concluding part of something.

One key characteristic of the idiom "and finally" is its usage in written and spoken discourse to bring closure to a topic or argument. It serves as a way to signal to the audience or reader that the speaker or writer has reached the end of their intended message or narrative. The phrase often acts as a signal for the audience that there will be no further information or elaboration on the topic at hand. It is commonly employed in formal contexts, such as speeches, presentations, and scholarly writing, where the speaker or writer aims to provide a clear and concise conclusion.

Another important aspect of the idiom is its role in guiding the listener or reader to the anticipated end of a sequence of events or information. The phrase "and finally" serves as a marker that informs the audience that the speaker or writer is about to present the last point or piece of information in a series. This allows the audience to mentally prepare for the end of the narrative or argument and helps to create a sense of structure and organization.

The idiom "and finally" can evoke a sense of anticipation or even relief, especially when used in narratives that have built up suspense or tension. In such cases, the phrase carries a connotation of reaching a long-awaited resolution or the ultimate objective.

Experienced writer explores advanced idioms for The New York Times.

"And finally" is often used interchangeably with similar expressions such as "lastly," "in conclusion," and "to sum up." While these phrases share the same function of signaling closure, "and finally" has a distinct tone that is more direct and succinct. Its brevity and simplicity make it a favored choice in many contexts, as it avoids unnecessary embellishments and maintains a focused approach.

Now let's explore the idioms "at last," "at the end of the day," and "last roundup" and their relationship to "and finally."

The idiom "at last" shares a similar meaning to "and finally" as it also indicates the conclusion or final part of something. However, "at last" carries a slightly different tone. It often conveys a sense of relief or satisfaction. For instance, one might say, "I have been waiting for this moment, and at last, it has arrived." Here, "at last" emphasizes the sense of finally achieving or experiencing something.

The idiom "at the end of the day" is another phrase that shares a similar meaning to "and finally." It is often used to emphasize that something is the ultimate result or outcome of a situation. For example, one might say, "We have explored various possibilities, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to hard work and determination." In this case, "at the end of the day" signifies that, after considering all options or factors, the ultimate conclusion is reached.

The idiom "last roundup" is less commonly used but also relates to the idea of a final or concluding part. It can imply gathering or collecting the remaining or last elements of a group or project. For instance, in a team meeting, someone might say, "Let's do one last roundup of everyone's contributions before finalizing the presentation." Here, "last roundup" suggests bringing together the final pieces or aspects in order to complete a task or project.

To summarize, the idiom "and finally" is a powerful linguistic tool that plays a crucial role in guiding discourse, creating structure, and signaling closure. Its prevalent usage in various contexts underscores its significance in effective communication. The idioms "at last," "at the end of the day," and "last roundup" share a similar function to "and finally" by indicating the last or concluding part of something, but each carries its own subtle nuances and connotations that contribute to their usage in different contexts.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "and finally" can be used in a sentence:

  • After a long journey, we arrived at our destination, and finally, we could relax.
  • I have been studying for hours, and finally, I understand the concept.
  • We tried different methods to fix the issue, and finally, we found a solution.

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