"They finish school at 5 today."
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This is by no means a grammar explanation, just my interpretation of the word, and how I have memorised it. 放 means to release, to free, to let go, to put, to place, to let out. So, in this particular sentence you can imagine "studies/classes are being released/let go/let out" therefore meaning finished. "What time did class let out?" "Today they were let out at 5."