cancel culture


: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling (see cancel entry 1 sense 1e) as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure
For those of you who aren't aware, cancel culture refers to the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren't socially accepted today. This practice of "canceling" or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.Demetria Slyt
At a Republican National Convention where speakers' rage about cancel culture has been clear, former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann used his speaking slot to introduce himself as "the teenager who was defamed by the media."Hunter Woodall
Cancel culture is supported as a tool to stop offensive and harmful behavior, while others find it problematic and toxic.Elise Krumholz
cancel culture warriors
the cancel culture movement
also : the people who engage in or support this practice
I have to admit that I'm not opposed to the majority of legacies, groups of people, and trends being scrutinized by the cancel culture. In fact, the response to many of the ideologies and personalities that have been "cancelled" is, in most cases, long, long overdue. But I have a few concerns … Brad Peters

Examples of cancel culture in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the Dark Age of cancel culture, the un-self-conscious behavior and unpoliced thoughts of a private citizen are underrated. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, 29 Oct. 2023 People should be free to express their opinions without becoming targets of cancel culture. Les Borsai, SPIN, 1 Nov. 2023 Part horror movie and part sideways swipe at cancel culture and social pariahdom, Dream Scenario is the sort of high-concept, surreal comedy that Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Charlie Kaufman used to do on the regular — think Eternal Nicshine of the Spotless Cage. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 10 Sep. 2023 Unable to comprehend religion or its diversity, Buruma offers myopia and misinformation in its place—exactly the hubris cancel culture emerged to redress. Will Stephenson, Harper's Magazine, 16 Aug. 2023 From cancel culture to the overturning of Roe v. Wade to various issues in modern media to the aforementioned horrible storyline tied to Jan. 6, watching a Morning Show episode is like spending an hour in a Reddit forum, only with prettier people. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sep. 2023 Continue reading here… BACK TO WORK - Drew Barrymore defies Hollywood cancel culture and resumes talk show. Caroline Thayer, Fox News, 12 Sep. 2023 In this and a dozen other ways, the timeless-looking film engages with up-to-the-minute ideas, from cancel culture to going viral, ultimately revealing itself to be a sly social satire. Peter Debruge, Variety, 10 Sep. 2023 Arguably, where people are — in the middle of cancel culture, locked in their own social media echo chambers — is not the most positive place, and making it into merch is a cynical move to exploit our factionalism and us-versus-them mentality. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cancel culture.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

2016, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cancel culture was in 2016

Dictionary Entries Near cancel culture

Cite this Entry

“Cancel culture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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