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

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
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
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



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

Other Words from cancel


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for cancel

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Frequently Asked Questions About cancel

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.

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 President Joe Biden is considering whether to use executive action to cancel student loans for millions of Americans. Zack Friedman, Forbes, 17 May 2022 On the podcast, some of your unfiltered opinions are incredibly controversial, yet there have so far been no petitions to cancel Joe Budden. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 16 May 2022 The lower cancellation figures aren’t just a function of having fewer shows to cancel, however. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2022 He was advised to contact his bank to cancel the card. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 16 May 2022 Following a series of shootings Friday night after the Bucks lost to Boston to force a Game 7 on Sunday afternoon, the Bucks elected to cancel the watch party on the plaza in front of Fiserv Forum. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 May 2022 Following a series of shootings Friday night after the Bucks lost to Boston to force a Game 7 on Sunday afternoon, the Bucks elected to cancel the watch party on the plaza in front of Fiserv Forum. Jr Radcliffe, USA TODAY, 14 May 2022 At the time, local officials asked Curbishley to cancel the show after the dire situation outside came into view. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 13 May 2022 The year before the shuttle’s final launch in May 2011, with Constellation already grotesquely late and over budget, the Obama administration moved to cancel the program and have private companies bid to fly astronauts to the ISS. Rob Pegoraro, PCMAG, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The decision to ban Mr. DeSantis from speaking at the museum for a conference is a sad mistake that borders on cancel culture. WSJ, 9 May 2022 Sure, advertisers have been dealing with rogue celebrities long before the idea of cancel culture existed. Rob Fallon, Forbes, 6 May 2022 What are your thoughts on stand-up comedy in 2022 and the cancel culture? Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr. 2022 On this episode of Extra Spicy, Rosenthal and Ho dive into what motivates him, the fallacy of cancel culture and why people don’t want to give up their problematic favorites. Extra Spicy Podcast, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Apr. 2022 As if the Republicans are railing against cancel culture. NBC News, 10 Apr. 2022 The authors noted the rise of cancel culture, which was due in part to the emergence of the #metoo movement and the start of the Trump presidency. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2022 There was also a lot of blather about that season's philosophical earworms, from cancel culture to gender essentialism. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 31 Mar. 2022 Perhaps attempting to broaden the book’s appeal, Mchangama draws unjust equivalencies between progressive cancel culture and conservative opposition to critical race theory. Graham Hillard, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 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.

First Known Use of cancel


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


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

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Time Traveler for cancel

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near cancel



cancel culture

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Statistics for cancel

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cancel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cancel


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


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on cancel

Nglish: Translation of cancel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cancel for Arabic Speakers


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