Due to the history of Finland and its neighbourhood, and the relatively limited number of Finns, the term Finnish might cause some confusion:
- It can indicate nationality, usually acquired by birth in Finland
- It can indicate ethnicity, see Finnic and Sweden-Finns
- It can also indicate citizenship or a similar belonging to the state of Finland
- It can indicate the mother tongue of a speaker, see Finnish (language) and Sweden-Finns (often in contrast to Finns speaking Swedish as their mother tongue, see Finland-Swedish and Finland's language strife)
- It can indicate the Finnish language itself, and often the closely related varieties spoken in Finland's neighbourhood, see Finno-Ugric languages: Veps, Izhorian, Ingrian, Karelian, Mešnkieli 
- Finally, it can be a false translation from Scandinavian languages, where the concepts of Finns and Saamis haven't always been distinguished: Today Finn in the Norwegian language means a Saami.