1. extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
2. skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.
1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility.
I have always like this word. It says so much. This country lacks finesse. And it’s not a left/right east/west or north/south issue. Nor is it a racial or gender issue. Maybe it’s our frontier origins but we seems to take a more brutal, antagonistic and overly emotional approach to situations. The old cliche of the the guy banging on his television to get it to work. Our foreign policy has always lacked tact and finesse. We either ignore a situation or plow in to hit with guns blazing and yelling at the top of our lungs. If there is a societal behavior that people have a problem with, we make laws to ban it completely or try to tax it to death.
But this over the top, in your face get a bigger sledge hammer approach rarely, if ever, yields the intended results and generally just pisses people off and can generate long term resentments. It is an emotionally and mentally lazy approach. But to exercise the wisdom and rationality necessary to have finesse requires work and thought and understanding. And it also requires humility. But it is much more likely to yield the results we want. As well as giving us a much greater understanding of our selves and others.
Cross posted at TPMAHOLICS