cancel culture

noun

: 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 The typical cancel culture narrative involves hysterical outrage and an artist in anger and despair. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 2 June 2024 Today's era of cancel culture doesn't always allow for that. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 Elsewhere in his Fox interview, Johnson decried cancel culture. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 6 Apr. 2024 In his view, cancel culture itself may have been a phenomenon of the Covid era. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2024 The funny thing about the concept of cancel culture is that its popularization coincided with the demise of the mechanisms through which a person might truly be exiled from public life. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 18 Mar. 2024 Some rap fans see West as a roguish outlaw who beat cancel culture. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 Arbitrary rules, doxing practices, and cancel culture have led to something hard to distinguish from censorship for the sober and well-meaning. Jaron Lanier, WIRED, 13 Feb. 2024 And much of his one hour, five minute set centered on clapping back at how he’s perceived, dealing with cancel culture, and his views on sexuality and gender roles. Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancel%20culture. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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