What is financial? Definition and examples

The adjective ‘financial‘ means relating to finance. It is a broad term we use to describe different aspects of the financial industry. Financial institutions, financial services, and financial instruments, for example, are some of the aspects of the industry. The plural noun ‘finances,’ on the other hand, refers how well or badly an entity is managing financially.

For example, if I want to know how well a friend is coping financially, I might ask “How are your financials?” I might also ask “How are your finances?”

The question may also relate to his or her investment portfolio. A person’s portfolio is their spread of investments.

Financial matters relate to money or how we manage money. The noun and adverbs of the term are finance (finances) and financially respectively. The verb is to finance.

The movement of money, buying and selling things, all cash inflows and outflows, are types of financial activities. In other words, anything with a monetary purpose or goal.

The Cambridge Dictionary says the following regarding the term:

“Relating to money or how money is managed.”

Apart from being the adjective of the noun and verb ‘finance,’ the word financial (financials) has some other meanings.

Financial – etymology

Etymology is the study of words, specifically their origins and how their meanings have evolved.

The noun ‘finance’ first appeared in the English language in the fourteenth century. It came from the Old French word ‘Finance,’ which meant ‘pardon, remission; ending, end; expense, payment, settlement of a debt.’

The French word came from the Medieval Latin word Finis, which meant ‘tax, fine, a payment in settlement.’

It was not until the nineteenth century that the verb ‘to finance’ acquired the meaning ‘to furnish money.’


‘Financials’ is a noun that can mean shares in banks, insurance companies, and other firms related to finance. If I say ‘I invested in financials,’ it means the shares of banks and similar companies.

If computer companies are doing well, my friend might say ‘Get out of financials and invest in computer firms.’

In finance and accounting, the term ‘financials’ refers to money matters that affect something. It is also a way of referring to a business’ financial results.

For example, somebody might say “Before initiating a project, it is crucial to get all the financials right.”

‘Financials’ also refers to how well somebody is coping financially. For example, if somebody says ‘My financials are a mess,’ it means that they are struggling. Perhaps their debts are too high, or they have overspent and are now in difficulties. They could also say “My finances are in a mess.”