\ 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 withoutI 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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Davis entered into contracts with several residents in April 2017 and once the contracts were paid in advance, the facilities' operations were ceased, the Attorney General said in a press release. Christopher Roth, azcentral, "Owner of Arizona assisted living facilities indicted on fraud charges," 20 Nov. 2019 The European Investment Bank will cease lending for fossil fuel projects in two years, officials announced late yesterday. Nathanial Gronewold, Scientific American, "European Investment Bank Will Stop Lending to Fossil Fuel Projects," 18 Nov. 2019 Still, Kavanaugh was not deterred, and the whistling abruptly ceased minutes into his speech. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Kavanaugh jokes and gets choked up in his first speech as a SCOTUS justice," 15 Nov. 2019 Later, the Texas Securities Board ordered the company to cease and desist. Aaliyah Gibson, chicagotribune.com, "Scams and shams: The biggest frauds in business," 1 Nov. 2019 Maybe that's why 52% of participants in the Bid-on-equipment survey supported ceasing the rotation through the week for Halloween and moving it to the last Saturday in October. Caleb Wiegandt, The Courier-Journal, "This candy is named Kentucky's favorite Halloween treat 2 years running," 28 Oct. 2019 The contributions won’t apply to employees making less than $30,000 a year, and the redirection would cease if the pension system’s funded status reaches at least 90 percent. oregonlive, "Unions abandon Oregon Democrats over pension reforms," 2 Oct. 2019 Judge Amita Tracy ordered the company to cease and desist a litany of actions against company employees, including a rule that blocks off-duty employees from handing out union literature and interrogating employees about union activities. Tara Law, Time, "Tesla and Elon Musk's Tweet Violated Labor Laws Protecting Unions, Judge Rules," 29 Sep. 2019 Nessel sent a Notice of Intended Action to the company, giving it an opportunity to immediately cease and desist from engaging in unlawful business practices. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Federal and Maryland officials warn against use of at-home ‘MeToo’ rape kits targeting local college students," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The province was the scene of major clashes in the spring and summer, with the United Nations estimating that 500 were killed, before cease-fires were brokered under Russian auspices in August. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, "Airstrikes kill at least 10 in Syria’s northwest rebel bastion," 2 Dec. 2019 But while the Afghan government has long demanded that the Taliban agree to a cease-fire, no evidence has emerged that the group was willing to grant one. Arkansas Online, "Trump visit surprises troops in Afghanistan," 29 Nov. 2019 Until a shaky July 21 cease-fire took hold, the sound of artillery fire was often audible in downtown Mariupol, and the ongoing war is seldom far from the subject of any conversation. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Isolated by Ukraine’s war, Mariupol looks for a peaceful future," 13 Aug. 2019 The Israeli military tweeted shortly after the announcement of a cease-fire. Fox News, "Two more rockets fired from Gaza into Israel hours after 'cease-fire' declaration," 16 Nov. 2019 The unofficial cease-fire that began early Thursday ended a two-day escalation triggered by Israel’s targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander. BostonGlobe.com, "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel said early Friday it has completed a series of airstrikes on targets linked to the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza after overnight rocket fire that rattled a day-old truce.," 16 Nov. 2019 But tear gas was again fired soon after, breaking the momentary cease fire. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong police and students are fighting a war in one of the city’s top universities," 12 Nov. 2019 Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire brokered by Russia, in which Kurdish fighters would withdraw 19 miles from the border. SFChronicle.com, "News of the Day From Around the World, Nov. 4," 4 Nov. 2019 The short-term effects of the United States military’s withdrawal from northern Syria have played out on TVs and in newspapers as reports come in of mounting casualties despite a cease-fire. Dan Sweeney, sun-sentinel.com, "These South Florida doctors just returned from Kurdistan. Here’s what they saw.," 24 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for cease

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cease

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cease.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceased. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for cease


How to pronounce cease (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cease

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cease

Spanish Central: Translation of cease

Nglish: Translation of cease for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cease for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cease

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to assail by words or arguments

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