\ 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

Remember: If any eating plan worked for the long-term, everyone would be at their ideal weight and the diet industry would cease to exist. Abby Langer, SELF, "Most Diets Don't Work, But If a Diet Promises These 4 Things, Run Away," 5 Jan. 2019 The interaction ended when any of these conditions ceased for five seconds. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%," 13 July 2018 By Becky Krystal | The Washington Post Tofu has long since ceased to be a special ingredient, especially now that meatless eating has become mainstream. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "How to start teaching your kids to cook: an age-appropriate guide," 12 June 2018 By 12 months, when the coaching had ceased, that proportion had dropped to 12 percent. New York Times, "Surgical Checklists Save Lives — but Once in a While, They Don’t. Why?," 9 May 2018 In our current research, our group has also found that prescription medications can be detected in fingerprints, and that these traces disappear when a patient ceases to take their medication. Melanie Bailey, Scientific American, "The Hidden Data in Your Fingerprints," 27 Apr. 2018 But the open hostility has since ceased and Romney accepted Trump’s endorsement for Senate. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Romney will 'wait and see' whether to support Trump in 2020," 23 Apr. 2018 When the two ceased their struggle, the unarmed Pickett was dead. Jeff Piorkowski/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Orange High graduate, successful L.A. lawyer Galipo wins biggest-ever award for client in police shooting," 23 Mar. 2018 The war, which ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty, saw open hostilities cease with the creation of the DMZ, which is approximately 155 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "You Can Now Hike Alongside the Korean DMZ," 1 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission had sent Uber a cease and desist letter, and its then-CEO Travis Kalanick needed someone who understood New York politics. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "How Bradley Tusk Went from Political Insider to ‘Making Politicians Crazy’," 31 Aug. 2018 The administration sent the product’s maker — Dolder, Falco, and Reese Partners of Valencia (Los Angeles County) — a cease and desist letter saying the company must immediately stop marketing and selling the product in the United States. David R. Baker, SFChronicle.com, "Autopilot Buddy for tricking Tesla’s safety systems blocked by feds," 19 June 2018 On Monday night the palace issued a statement asking for Thomas Markle’s privacy to be respected, just hours after issuing another cease and desist letter to national newspapers. Katie Nicholl, Vanities, "Meghan Markle Is Still Trying to Convince Her Father to Come to Her Wedding," 15 May 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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Learn More about cease

Statistics for cease

Last Updated

22 May 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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