Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb re·scind \ri-ˈsind\

Simple Definition of rescind

  • : to end (a law, contract, agreement, etc.) officially : to say officially that (something) is no longer valid

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of rescind

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take away :  remove

  3. 2 a :  take back, cancel <refused to rescind the order> b :  to abrogate (a contract) and restore the parties to the positions they would have occupied had there been no contract

  4. 3 :  to make void (as an act) by action of the enacting authority or a superior authority :  repeal

rescinder noun
rescindment play \-ˈsin(d)-mənt\ noun

Examples of rescind in a sentence

  1. But Maria convinced Leverich that she had the authority to rescind the executor's decision to appoint him as biographer. —John Lahr, New Yorker, 19 Dec. 1994

  2. The Navy barred its personnel from his church, but he challenged the decree in federal court as a constitutional violation of freedom of religion. Eventually, the Navy rescinded its ban. —Randall Samborn, National Law Journal, 14 Jan. 1991

  3. The enemies these efforts made for him concocted charges of disloyalty, and following a hearing before the Atomic Energy Commission in 1954, Oppenheimer's security clearance was rescinded. —Kai Bird et al., Smithsonian, Aug. 2005

  4. The navy rescinded its ban on women sailors.

  5. The company later rescinded its offer.

Did You Know?

Rescind and the lesser-known words exscind and prescind all come from the Latin verb scindere, which means "to cut" or "to split." Rescind was adapted from its Latin predecessor rescindere in the second half of the 16th century, and prescind (from praescindere) and exscind (from exscindere) followed in the mid-17th century. Exscind means "to cut off" or "to excise," and prescind means "to withdraw one's attention," but neither appears frequently in contemporary English. Of the three borrowings, only rescind established itself as a common English term. You might hear of someone rescinding a contract or an offer, or of a legislative body rescinding a law.

Origin of rescind

Latin rescindere to annul, from re- + scindere to cut — more at shed

First Known Use: 1579

Law Dictionary


verb re·scind \ri-ˈsind\

Legal Definition of rescind

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take back and make void <rescinded its suspension of his license>

  3. 2 :  to abrogate (a contract or transaction) by mutual agreement, judicial decree, or unilateral declaration because of fraud, mistake, duress, misrepresentation, illegality, a breach, or another sufficient ground with both parties restored to their positions before the contract was made — compare cancel, terminate

  4. 3 :  to make void by the same or by a superior authority <rescind a regulation>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to rescind something (as a contract)

rescindable \-ˈsin-də-bəl\ adjective

Origin of rescind

Latin rescindere to cut loose, annul, from re- away, back + scindere to cut, split

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up rescind? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove perplex soothe reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.