\ ˈsēs How to pronounce cease (audio) \
ceased; ceasing

Definition of cease

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause to come to an end especially gradually : no longer continue they were forced to cease operations cease to exist

intransitive verb

1a : to come to an end the fighting gradually ceased
b : to bring an activity or action to an end : discontinue they have been ordered to cease and desist
2 obsolete : to become extinct : die out



Definition of cease (Entry 2 of 2)

: cessation usually used with without I kept an eye upon her without cease— R. L. Stevenson

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Choose the Right Synonym for cease


stop, cease, quit, discontinue, desist mean to suspend or cause to suspend activity. stop applies to action or progress or to what is operating or progressing and may imply suddenness or definiteness. stopped at the red light cease applies to states, conditions, or existence and may add a suggestion of gradualness and a degree of finality. by nightfall the fighting had ceased quit may stress either finality or abruptness in stopping or ceasing. the engine faltered, sputtered, then quit altogether discontinue applies to the stopping of an accustomed activity or practice. we have discontinued the manufacture of that item desist implies forbearance or restraint as a motive for stopping or ceasing. desisted from further efforts to persuade them

Examples of cease in a Sentence


The fighting along the border has temporarily ceased. The factory ceased operations last year. The child would not cease his constant whining.


worked without cease for the betterment of humanity
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The defendants ignored these complaints and cease and desist letters until ultimately the State of Oregon forced them to shut down in 2015. oregonlive.com, "Federal judge in OR orders halt to national newspaper subscription scam, issues $8.9 million judgment," 12 June 2019 The headliners at Firefly have ceased to be eye-catching in recent years, but the summer solstice weekend camping fest in the First State is a world-class event in terms of amenities. Dan Deluca, https://www.inquirer.com, "The summer’s biggest concerts in Philadelphia, from the Rolling Stones to Made in America," 5 June 2019 For $97 a ticket, enchantment—across genres—ceases to be fiction. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Star Wars Park Is a Space-Junk Fantasy," 5 June 2019 In March, Nike responded in a letter demanding that Leonard immediately cease and desist from using what Nike claims is Nike property. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Kawhi Leonard vs. Nike: Analyzing the Raptors' Star's Logo Lawsuit," 4 June 2019 Politics ceases to be procedural and becomes fundamental. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The political tribalism of Andrew Sullivan," 11 Dec. 2018 And public space ceases to be public if people can’t freely use it—including using it free of fear that they will be inaccurately profiled by humans or autonomous systems. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018 The current settlement requires Walgreens and the former executives to cease and desist from making untrue statements or omissions. Allison Prang, WSJ, "Walgreens Boots to Pay $34.5 Million Penalty in SEC Settlement," 28 Sep. 2018 My hope and prayer is that this president and his allies will, again, cease and desist on calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. Fox News, "'Special Report' panel on fallout from Russian indictments," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With a tentative cease-fire, tourists are slowly returning to Gorongosa. David Quammen, National Geographic, "How one of Africa’s great parks is rebounding from war," 12 June 2019 On May 1, the network sent a cease-and-desist letter to the producers of Bachelor the Musical: An Unauthorized Parody, a spoof that's been running in various venues across Los Angeles since September. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, "ABC Lawyers Shut Down 'Bachelor the Musical' Poster," 7 June 2019 The university sent the chapter a cease-and-desist letter on May 30, followed by a similar notice from the national fraternity a day later, said UC San Diego spokesperson Christine Clark. K.c. Alfred, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD fraternity suspended amid reports of sexual assault," 4 June 2019 Uber had just received a cease-and-desist letter from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. Adam O’neal, WSJ, "‘The Fixer’ Review: A Technocrat at Work," 18 Oct. 2018 Lee strongly denied the allegations, and his company sent out a cease-and-desist letter concerning the messaging. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Underdog Bill Lee surges to win Tennessee GOP gubernatorial primary; pivotal Senate race takes shape," 3 Aug. 2018 The lawyer for Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, sent Daniels a cease and desist letter following the interview, Fox News reports. NBC News, "First Read's Morning Clips: Costello calls it quits in Pennsylvania," 26 Mar. 2018 Elgin ISD, outside of Austin, also received a cease and desist letter Friday largely for the superintendent and district retweeting statements of support for Milder. Andrea Zelinski, Houston Chronicle, "Paxton scolds Galena Park ISD for 'unlawful electioneering'," 16 Mar. 2018 On January 8th, Revok and his lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to brand; the brand fired back with a lawsuit trying to make the case that the wall was painted illegally and therefore the artist has no rights to it. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "H&M Says It Is Withdrawing Lawsuit Against Street Artist Revok on Usage of His Work in an Ad," 15 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cease.' 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 cease


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cease

Verb and Noun

Middle English cesen, from Anglo-French cesser, from Latin cessare to hold back, be remiss, frequentative of cedere

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Statistics for cease

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cease

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

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More Definitions for cease



English Language Learners Definition of cease

: to stop happening : to end
: to stop doing (something)


\ ˈsēs How to pronounce cease (audio) \
ceased; ceasing

Kids Definition of cease

: to come or bring to an end : stop The talking ceased.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cease

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cease

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cease

Spanish Central: Translation of cease

Nglish: Translation of cease for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cease for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cease

What made you want to look up cease? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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