cancel

1 of 2

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 cancel (audio) ; cancels

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
e
: to withdraw one's support for (someone, such as a celebrity, or something, such as a company) publicly and especially on social media
… the internet has canceled her over her alleged anti-black and homophobic past. Angie Dare
see also cancel culture
2
: to deface (a postage or revenue stamp) especially with a set of ink lines so as to invalidate for reuse
3
a
: to remove (a common divisor) from numerator and denominator
b
: to remove (equivalents) on opposite sides of an equation or account
4
a
: to mark or strike out for deletion
cancel the offensive passage
b

intransitive verb

: to neutralize each other's strength or effect : counterbalance
the various pressure groups to a large degree canceled out J. B. Conant
cancelable adjective
or cancellable
canceler noun
or canceller

cancel

2 of 2

noun

1
: cancellation
an order quickly followed by a cancel
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

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to cancel someone?

To cancel someone is to stop supporting them or their work. This means no longer reading what they write, listening to or watching what they create, or enjoying what they produce.

Is it cancelled or canceled?

The forms of cancel in American English are typically canceled and canceling; in British English they are cancelled and cancelling. Cancellation is the usual spelling everywhere, though cancelation is also sometimes used.

What does cancellable mean?

The word cancellable (which is also but less commonly spelled cancelable) describes something, such as a contract or policy, that can be canceled—that is, that can be made no longer valid or effective.

Example Sentences

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 Biden administration last week asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for more than 40 million borrowers. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Nov. 2022 In August, Biden first announced the plan to cancel up to $20,000 in debt per eligible borrower. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 23 Nov. 2022 The Biden administration extended the years-long pause on federal student loan payments Tuesday after Republican legal challenges temporarily halted President Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in debt for millions of borrowers. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Nov. 2022 The Biden administration extended the pause on federal student loan payments on Tuesday after Republican legal challenges temporarily halted President Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in debt for millions of borrowers. Zolan Kanno-youngs, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2022 President Joe Biden announced a plan in August to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 17 Nov. 2022 That is six conservative states, Nebraska being one of them, who brought a legal challenge against the Biden Administration's plan to cancel billions in student loan debt for millions of borrowers. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 In August, Biden announced his plan to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for individuals who make under $125,000 yearly and an additional $10,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Theara Coleman, The Week, 17 Oct. 2022 Biden announced in August a plan to cancel student loan debt, following through on a campaign promise to provide relief to millions of Americans struggling to pay back student loans. Neal Earley, Arkansas Online, 30 Sep. 2022
Noun
The accomplished composer also reflects on how Disney, as a studio, dealt with the portrayal of the Far East in the film and how a previous in-development version was in fact shelved due to concerns that predated cancel culture by decades. Dan Heching, CNN, 24 Nov. 2022 Their tweets didn’t always age as well, particularly as an era of cancel culture began. WIRED, 16 Nov. 2022 Richard Millet became a kind of referendum on what wasn’t yet termed cancel culture, with Ernaux denounced as a harridan intent on enforcing politically correct censorship at the expense of a man’s career. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 Republicans have carped that Democrats have allowed crime to run rampant, forced the teaching of race theories in schools, embraced cancel culture and failed to secure the southern border. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 6 Nov. 2022 To start, the Late Night writer, 43, noted that cancel culture isn't always due to a person's behavior. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 31 Oct. 2022 In addition to the Democratic Party, Schneider also called out Hollywood cancel culture. Madeline Coggins, Fox News, 12 Oct. 2022 The speed at which cancel culture can claim its victims is faster than ever before. Yec, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 Gabbard added that cancel culture in the United States must be combated. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, 10 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 2b(1)

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

Dictionary Entries Near cancel

Cite this Entry

“Cancel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancel. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

cancel

verb

can·​cel
ˈkan(t)-səl
canceled or cancelled; canceling or cancelling
-s(ə-)liŋ
1
: to cross out or strike out with a line : delete
2
a
: to destroy the force or effectiveness of
cancel an order
cancel an appointment
b
: to match in force or effect : offset entry 2
cancelled each other out
3
a
: to divide a numerator and denominator by the same number
b
: to remove something equivalent from both sides of an equation or account
4
: to mark a postage stamp or check so that it cannot be reused
canceler noun
or canceller
-s(ə-)lər

Legal Definition

cancel

transitive verb

can·​cel
canceled or cancelled; canceling or cancelling
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 draft Uniform 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
cancelable adjective
or cancellable

More from Merriam-Webster on cancel

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