Posted by Smokey Stover on March 11, 2004
In Reply to: Pay the fine posted by Ward Fredericks on March 11, 2004
: When the police provide you with a ticket for doing something illegal, the normal punishment is to pay a fine. It really isn't 'fine' and if anyone knows how an unpleasant punishment got the name of fine, I'd appreciate hearing about it.
Ward Fredericks' comments are just, and I too have wondered how something so much the reverse of fine could be called a fine. According to the OED it comes from finis as end. "In med. L. and OF. the word has the senses 'ending of a dispute, settlement, payment by way of composition'; hence the various applications in Branch II." Branch II is our baby, traffic fines and the like. SS