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ceased; ceasing

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

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


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: cessation
usually used with without
I kept an eye upon her without ceaseR. L. Stevenson
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

Verb The fighting along the border has temporarily ceased. The factory ceased operations last year. The child would not cease his constant whining. Noun worked without cease for the betterment of humanity
Recent Examples on the Web
Year after year, families that have scattered to the suburbs reconnect with their heritage in a place that long ago ceased being a community focal point. Marisa Iati, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 Following a visit to the province this week, the United Nations under-secretary-general for peace operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, called on the M23 group to immediately cease its offensive. Sarah Dean, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 According to the documents, all payments will be tax-free and The Big Bang Theory creator, 71, will cease to pay Arielle, 38, further spousal support. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024 Israel would also withdraw from populated areas, cease aerial operations, allow far more aid to enter and permit Palestinians to return to their homes, including in devastated northern Gaza. Matthew Lee, arkansasonline.com, 8 Feb. 2024 Still, the operation is tiny, and Gore notes that it has been forced to cease publication on at least two separate occasions over the years. Christopher Null, WIRED, 7 Feb. 2024 But their attacks in Avdiivka and elsewhere along the front serve a larger goal: to seize the advantage at a time American military support to Ukraine has ceased, and to overwhelm the Ukrainians with sheer mass. Marc Santora Tyler Hicks, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2024 The supremacy of federal law and the federal government doesn’t cease even if there is an invasion. Erwin Chemerinsky, The Mercury News, 1 Feb. 2024 The Loyal later ended up ceasing operations after four seasons. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Jan. 2024
Passenger trains haven’t run in the Treasure Valley in more than 25 years, and, for now, that cease in operations will continue. Kevin Fixler, Idaho Statesman, 6 Feb. 2024 When will supposed safety for some cease to mean annihilation for others? Sara Holdren, Vulture, 9 Jan. 2024 The cease fire partially slows down disparaging comments to the administration. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 More than 300 people were arrested at a demonstration calling for a cease fire inside the Cannon House Office Building in October. Sara Dorn, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 Last Updated: Live Coverage Feed 3 hours ago U.S. Blames Hamas for End of Cease Fire in Gaza By WSJ staff Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed Hamas for the collapse of a temporary cease fire with Israel on Friday. WSJ, 1 Dec. 2023 This isn't even an armistice, merely a cease fire at the advantage to Hamas. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 The parties involved in the cease fire probably don't know the parade exists and were likely not watching. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, a cease fire (or armistice) went into effect between the Allied nations and Germany, signaling the unofficial end of World War I. Are banks open on Veterans Day? Bychris Morris, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near cease

Cite this Entry

“Cease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cease. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ceased; ceasing
: to come or bring to an end : stop

More from Merriam-Webster on cease

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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