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verb, can·cel \ˈkan(t)-səl\

Simple Definition of cancel

  • : to stop doing or planning to do (something) : to decide that something (such as a game, performance, etc.) will not happen

  • : to cause (something) to end or no longer produce a certain effect : to stop (something) from being effective or valid

  • : to put a mark with a set of ink lines on something (such as a stamp) so that it cannot be used again

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of cancel

canceled or cancelledcanceling or cancellingplay \-s(ə-)liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to destroy the force, effectiveness, or validity of :  annul <cancel a magazine subscription> <a canceled check> b :  to bring to nothingness :  destroy c :  to match in force or effect :  offset —often used with out <his irritability canceled out his natural kindness — Osbert Sitwell> d :  to call off usually without expectation of conducting or performing at a later time <cancel a football game>

  3. 2 a :  to mark or strike out for deletion b :  omit, delete

  4. 3 a :  to remove (a common divisor) from numerator and denominator b :  to remove (equivalents) on opposite sides of an equation or account

  5. 4 :  to deface (a postage or revenue stamp) especially with a set of ink lines so as to invalidate for reuse

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to neutralize each other's strength or effect :  counterbalance

cancelable or cancellable play \-s(ə-)lə-bəl\ adjective
canceler or canceller play \-s(ə-)lər\ noun

Examples of cancel in a sentence

  1. The event was canceled at the last minute when the speaker didn't show up.

  2. We canceled our dinner reservation.

  3. My flight was canceled because of the storm.

  4. She canceled her appointment with the dentist.

  5. I'm sorry, but I have to cancel. Can we meet next week?

  6. He canceled his insurance policy last month.

  7. We canceled our magazine subscription when we moved.

  8. The bank canceled my credit card.

  9. If you subscribe online, you can cancel at any time.

Origin of cancel

Middle English cancellen, from Anglo-French canceller, chanceller, from Late Latin cancellare, from Latin, to make like a lattice, from cancelli (plural), diminutive of cancer lattice, probably alteration of carcer prison

First Known Use: 14th century



noun can·cel

Definition of cancel

  1. 1 :  cancellation

  2. 2 a :  a deleted part or passage b (1) :  a leaf containing matter to be deleted (2) :  a new leaf or slip substituted for matter already printed


First Known Use of cancel


Other Postal Terms

Rhymes with cancel

CANCEL Defined for Kids


verb can·cel \ˈkan-səl\

Definition of cancel for Students

canceled or cancelledcanceling or cancelling

  1. 1 :  to take back :  stop from being in effect <She canceled the order.>

  2. 2 :  to cause to not happen <I hoped for anything that could cancel the dance. — Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation>

  3. 3 :  to be equal in force or importance but have opposite effect <The disadvantages of the plan canceled out the advantages.>

  4. 4 :  to remove (a common divisor) from numerator and denominator :  remove (equivalents) on opposite sides of an equation

  5. 5 :  to cross out or strike out with a line <He canceled what he had written.>

  6. 6 :  to mark (as a postage stamp) so as to make impossible to use again

Law Dictionary


transitive verb can·cel

Legal Definition of cancel

canceled or cancelledcanceling or cancelling

  1. 1 :  to destroy the force, validity, or effectiveness of: as a :  to render (one's will or a provision in one's will) ineffective by purposely making marks through or otherwise marring the text of — compare revoke Editor's note: The text of the will or of the will's provision need not be rendered illegible in order for a court to find that there was an intent to cancel it. b :  to make (a negotiable instrument) unenforceable especially by purposely marking through or otherwise marring the words or signature of Editor's note: As stated in section 3-604 of the Uniform Commercial Code, a party that is entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument may cancel the instrument, whether or not for consideration, and discharge the obligation of the other party to pay. c :  to mark (a check) to indicate that payment has been made by the bank Editor's note: A check is no longer negotiable once it has been cancelled. d :  to withdraw an agreement to honor (a letter of credit) <when an issuer wrongfully cancels or otherwise repudiates a credit before presentment of a draft — Uniform Commercial Code>

  2. 2 :  to put an end to (a contract): as a :  to end (a contract) by discharging the other party from obligations as yet unperformed b :  to end (a contract) in accordance with the provisions of U.C.C. section 2-106 or a similar statute because the other party has breached — compare rescind, terminate Editor's note: Section 2-106 provides that a party that cancels a contract because of the other party's breach is entitled to seek remedies for breach of all or part of the contract. c :  to put an end to (a lease contract) because of the default of the other party Editor's note: Under U.C.C. section 2A-505, a party that cancels because of the other party's default may seek remedies for the default of all or any unperformed part of the lease contract.

  3. 3 :  to terminate (an insurance policy) before the end of the policy period usually as allowed by policy provisions

cancelable or cancellable adjective

Seen and Heard

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