cancel

verb
can·​cel | \ ˈkan(t)-səl How to pronounce cancel (audio) \
canceled or cancelled; canceling or cancelling\ ˈkan(t)-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce cancelling (audio) \

Definition of cancel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to decide not to conduct or perform (something planned or expected) usually without expectation of conducting or performing it at a later time cancel a football game
b : to destroy the force, effectiveness, or validity of : annul cancel a magazine subscription a canceled check
c : to match in force or effect : offset often used with out his irritability canceled out his natural kindness— Osbert Sitwell
d : to bring to nothingness : destroy
2 : to deface (a postage or revenue stamp) especially with a set of ink lines so as to invalidate for reuse
3a : to remove (a common divisor) from numerator and denominator
b : to remove (equivalents) on opposite sides of an equation or account
4a : to mark or strike out for deletion cancel the offensive passage
b : omit, delete

intransitive verb

: to neutralize each other's strength or effect : counterbalance the various pressure groups to a large degree canceled out— J. B. Conant

cancel

noun

Definition of cancel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : cancellation an order quickly followed by a cancel
2a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cancel

Verb

cancelable or cancellable \ ˈkan(t)-​s(ə-​)lə-​bəl How to pronounce cancellable (audio) \ adjective
canceler or canceller \ ˈkan(t)-​s(ə-​)lər How to pronounce canceller (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cancel

Synonyms: Verb

abandon, abort, call, call off, cry off, drop, recall, repeal, rescind, revoke, scrap, scrub

Antonyms: Verb

continue, keep

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Cancel My Subscription

When we cancel an appointment we are making the decision to not keep that engagement, and when we cancel a check we are rendering that monetary slip of paper null and void. The early meanings of cancel had much more to do with the action taken for the check than that for the appointment. The word comes from a Latin noun, cancelli, meaning “lattice,” and originally referred to the crosshatched lines drawn across a written passage to signify that it should be deleted. By metaphorical extension, cancel in the sense “to remove or nullify” came to be applied to contracts, obligations and vows, mathematical quantities, checks, and all manner of other things (perhaps most familiarly nowadays, purchase orders and services).

Examples of cancel in a Sentence

Verb

The event was canceled at the last minute when the speaker didn't show up. We canceled our dinner reservation. My flight was canceled because of the storm. She canceled her appointment with the dentist. I'm sorry, but I have to cancel. Can we meet next week? He canceled his insurance policy last month. We canceled our magazine subscription when we moved. The bank canceled my credit card. If you subscribe online, you can cancel at any time.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Pensacola Beach Air Festival, which kicks off today and goes on through the weekend and features the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, has not been canceled but organizers are monitoring weather in the Gulf of Mexico. al.com, "Preparation, cancellations and Alan Sealls on Facebook: How Coastal Alabama is readying for storm," 10 July 2019 The Super Mega Ultra Giant Mad Decent Block Party Festival, set for July 20th and 21st, in Foxborough, MA, has been cancelled. Kevin Slane, BostonGlobe.com, "Gillette Stadium music festival suddenly canceled," 10 July 2019 The crowds were vocal, often hostile, and furious that the competitions had been cancelled. oregonlive.com, "After a year of close calls, last-minute bailouts, Special Olympics of Oregon survives financial crisis," 7 July 2019 Campus police tweeted that all classes on campus had been canceled. Washington Post, "Explosion causes partial collapse of dorm at university," 6 July 2019 The rest of the fireworks show has been canceled due to a fire in the river. Claire Rafford, azcentral, "Marana halts fireworks due to fire in Santa Cruz River," 4 July 2019 The concert has never been canceled and doesn't plan to be. Sarah Horne, Cincinnati.com, "Big plans for the 4th of July? What to expect with rain and how that impacts events," 2 July 2019 The Angels are now in Texas for a four-game series against the Rangers, but their Monday night game has since been canceled following the news of the tragedy. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Los Angeles Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs, 27, Found Dead in Texas Hotel Room," 1 July 2019 The Angels-Rangers game scheduled for Monday night has been canceled. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs dead at 27," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the chilling effect of cancel culture is arguably worse than that of more official forms of censorship. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Pavlik Morozov Is the Patron Saint of Cancel Culture," 2 July 2019 One finds now, in the back and forth of this saga, foreshadowings of the cancel-culture wars of today. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 One of the most affecting sections in Jones’s biography examines Geisel’s moral evolution, demonstrating how an artist could answer to his conscience independently, if imperfectly, decades before the advent of cancel culture. I-huei Go, The New Yorker, "How Dr. Seuss Changed Education in America," 5 June 2019 Most luxury properties also have flexible cancel policy, meaning that rooms can be cancelled within 24-48 hours. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What Travelers Need to Know about Zika in Florida," 24 Aug. 2016 For all of the tumult during Fox's cancel-happy prelude to its Monday upfront, the resulting fall schedule doesn't look that dramatically different from the one that preceded it. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Fox Fall Schedule Adds More NFL, Puts New Comedies on Friday," 14 May 2018 Once the cycle starts, the machine will be completely emptied of all cash on hand unless the person collecting the cash presses a cancel button on the keypad. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "In a first, US hit by “Jackpotting” attacks that empty ATMs in minutes," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cancel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cancel

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

Noun

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cancel

Verb and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cancel

Statistics for cancel

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cancel

The first known use of cancel was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cancel

cancel

verb

English Language Learners 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

cancel

verb
can·​cel | \ ˈkan-səl How to pronounce cancel (audio) \
canceled or cancelled; canceling or cancelling

Kids Definition of cancel

1 : to take back : stop from being in effect She canceled the order.
2 : to cause to not happen I hoped for anything that could cancel the dance.— Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation
3 : to be equal in force or importance but have opposite effect The disadvantages of the plan canceled out the advantages.
4 : to remove (a common divisor) from numerator and denominator : remove (equivalents) on opposite sides of an equation
5 : to cross out or strike out with a line He canceled what he had written.
6 : to mark (as a postage stamp) so as to make impossible to use again
can·​cel
canceled or cancelled; canceling or cancelling

Legal Definition of cancel

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

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

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

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 draftUniform Commercial Code
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

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

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

Other Words from cancel

cancelable or cancellable adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cancel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cancel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cancel

Spanish Central: Translation of cancel

Nglish: Translation of cancel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cancel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cancel

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!