cancel

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

Definition of cancel 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to call off usually without expectation of conducting or performing 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

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Other Words from cancel

Verb

cancelable or cancellable \ -​s(ə-​)lə-​bəl \ adjective
canceler or canceller \ -​s(ə-​)lər \ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Attempts to build new LWRs in the US have been a fiasco, ending up canceled (as in the beleaguered Summer plant in South Carolina, which was 40 percent complete) or endlessly delayed and over-budget (as in the new Vogtle reactors in Georgia). David Roberts, Vox, "The US is rapidly losing nuclear power. That’s profoundly concerning for climate change.," 11 July 2018 On June 28, the Queen canceled an outing after complaining of feeling sick. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Queen Elizabeth Is Back in Action One Day After Missing Great-Grandson Prince Louis' Christening," 10 July 2018 The government canceled the construction project and effectively declared the landscape to be a single, sprawling archaeological site. Nick Stockton, WIRED, "Laser-Shooting Planes Uncover the Horror and Humanity of World War I," 9 July 2018 Pyongyang also played down Washington’s recent decision to cancel joint military exercises with South Korea. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korean Denuclearization Talks Uncertain After Pompeo Visit," 8 July 2018 Besides flash flood watches and warnings, several cities are canceling their Independence Day celebrations. Tulsi Kamath, Houston Chronicle, "Area Independence Day celebrations that have been canceled so far," 4 July 2018 Shorewood canceled its show and has yet to reschedule. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Some communities reschedule fireworks shows for Thursday after storms move through," 4 July 2018 As such, the city of Winters in Yolo County had canceled its July 3 fireworks show as of Monday morning. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Here's the air quality outlook for July 4 and beyond, amid Northern California wildfires," 3 July 2018 Earlier in June, the city of Oviedo, the capital of Spain's Asturias region, canceled an upcoming concert by Israel's NK Orchestra and a ballet performance due to political reasons. Jewish Journal, "Spanish high court rules anti-Israel boycott is unconstitutional," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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.

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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

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

Noun

see cancel entry 1

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Statistics for cancel

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cancel

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

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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 \
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

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