“Finasser” is a funny French verb. When I read it in a book I immediatly asked myself “How do you say than in English?”.
Reverso Context tells me plenty of solutions, which means we touched, here, a complex translation point.
To play games
To move slowly
To try to be clever
To get into the niceties
To use trickery
Well, in French it’s clear it means you don’t really fancy doing something when you have to, then you do as if you need to focus on some details, find excuses and pretexts not to do the job.
“Arrête de finasser !” : Stop finassing, sounds very parenting, patronizing.
To play games sounds good, but finasser is not “being inconsistent” to annoy someone, it’s more “to be smiling and lazy”.
To move slowly would be the consequence of finasser.
To try to be clever seems sarcastic and mean or witty. Finasser is not sarcastic though. It’s just a lack of will.
I love “to get into the niceties“, because it’s really that. To focus on small details… not to work.
To use trickery is not correct, or maybe just a little. To dazzle: the same. Finasser is not about cheating of misleading, it’s more about hesitation or a small will to slow down things.
To equivocate is right. To prevaricate seems better! But the verbs in French are “chipoter” or “tergiverser”, it’s another problem. Chipoter: to haggle over. Tergiverser: to um and ah, to procrastinate (and oh there’s a “to tergiversate” in English?).
Then it’s leads to : to sit on the fence, to punt, to pussyfoot around (seems perfect, though we’d say “faire des manières”, which is… to fuss), to waffle back and forth (more about changing mind all the time – être une girouette (to be a weathercock)), to dillydally (oh marvel!!), haver (sillier?), punt (evading the issue, to pass the buck), shilly-shally (oh, cool!).
Finasser is a little this and that. It shows a will to be slow, find excuses not to work, but not really to annoy someone else.
The Larousse dictionary says: “User de finesses, de subterfuges pour se dérober ou obtenir un avantage ; ruser.”- Use finesse, subterfuge to evade or gain an advantage; cunning.
Hmmm, that’s complicated, right?
The “asser” we add to words is a bit negative. Bavasser means “to prattle”, it’s bad and vulgar.
There are many bad insults in French finishing by “asse” (connasse, pouffiasse, grognasse, pétasse, blondasse), these are loud and mean! If “tiède” means “lukewarm”, tiédasse is like “it’s sadly lukewarm”, like bad soup, haha.
I always loved to explore trees of words. This was a good one. Of course my interpretations of words’ “colors” is probably wrong at times. Tell me in the comments?
Have a nice day. Thanks for reading!