Finally, the Definition of Final

2 Feb

This week, I gave tests and noticed a peculiar phenomenon. One of the questions as about the final version of the Fort Laramie Treaty, and, in every class, students asked what that meant. Did it mean the treaty as it was originally agreed upon? Or, did it mean the treaty as it ended up?

I always answered, “Final means final.”final

This issue has been running through my mind. Was the question not clear? Were the students just making sure that they were reading the question correctly? Was final the right word?

I looked it up.

Merriam-Webster defines final as:

1
a : not to be altered or undone <all sales are final>
b : of or relating to a concluding court action or proceeding <final decree>
2
: coming at the end : being the last in a series, process, or progress <the final chapter> <final exams>
3
: of or relating to the ultimate purpose or result of a process <our final goal> <the final product>

Do any of those fit a question that asks about the final version of the Fort Laramie Treaty?

Anyway, it has been bothering me that several students asked if final meant final. It has also been bothering me that the word final is tangling up my mind. To get rid of it, here are some things that are final.

Final Four (March Madness)

Final Exam (which will not have a question about the final version of anything)

Final Countdown (the movie starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen about a modern-day aircraft carrier that goes back to Pearl Harbor in 1941)

Final Countdown (the song by Europe that was inspired by the movie)

Final Fantasy (a video game that I have not played)

Final Destination (a movie series of which I have only seen the first one)

Can you think of anything else that is final?

Finally, the word final is out of my head, but I may never figure out why so many people asked what I meant by final.

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6 Responses to “Finally, the Definition of Final”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong February 2, 2017 at 04:07 #

    Death. Pretty final.

    • Rick February 2, 2017 at 13:52 #

      That’s the epitome of final.

  2. Andrew Petcher February 2, 2017 at 13:19 #

    Donald Trump is President – Final
    BREXIT – Final
    FA Cup – Final
    Super Bowl – Final

    • Rick February 2, 2017 at 13:53 #

      That’s a real Final Four.

  3. sittingpugs February 2, 2017 at 14:18 #

    Final resting place
    Final will and testament
    Final arrangements
    Final hours
    Final requests
    Final draft
    Final Cut (refers to the iteration of a film where there’d be no more editing or changing of the text before being released into theatres, DVD/Bluray, or a streaming platform; some may argue that the Director’s Cut of a film is the true “final cut.”)
    Final Girl (horror/slasher film character trope where the survivor of the antagonist’s murderous activity is literally the last, usually chaste, girl).
    Finale (last performance of a dance show, right before the curtain goes down)

    In these instances, “final” suggests that there will be no more amendments or that there will be no more in quantity of something as it is the end of a series of events.

    “Final Treaty” signifies that there were no more revisions to that document; all who signed, all who acknowledged that version of the document understood that there would be no more changes.

    • Rick February 2, 2017 at 14:27 #

      I like it. I wish I had thought of those.

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