\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That program, and others like it, would cease to exist if the preparedness act is not reauthorized. Nicolette Louissaint, STAT, "Congress needs to back legislation supporting disaster preparedness," 15 June 2018 To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter Graham never ceases to inspire us with messages about self-love and body positivity. Blake Bakkila, Health.com, "Ashley Graham Uses Windex to Correct a Spray Tan–Here's Why That's Dangerous," 31 May 2018 Communications ceased after the satellite finished the second of three planned engine-firings meant to raise its orbital altitude around Earth. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "India Loses Contact with New Communications Satellite Just Days After Launch," 3 Apr. 2018 The administration wants to cease increasing efficiency mandates, saying that would boost auto sales. Alex Leary, WSJ, "Trump Administration Cuts Off Talks With California Over Fuel-Efficiency Standards," 21 Feb. 2019 When a crime ceases to be a crime, common sense dictates that convicts ought to be freed of their criminal records. Ted Rall, WSJ, "Criminal Records for Obsolete Crimes," 9 Jan. 2019 While the airline isn't officially ceasing to exist for a few hours, some long-haul flights have already been canceled and no recourse provided. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Primera Air Will Stop Flying Passengers, File for Bankruptcy," 1 Oct. 2018 Two of BamBrogan’s fellow co-founders had resigned in the months before the furloughs and the announcement that Arrivo was ceasing operations. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Hyperloop startup Arrivo is shutting down as workers are laid off," 15 Dec. 2018 Also, the Trump administration has ceased paying federal subsidies, called cost-sharing reduction payments, to insurers. Lisa Schencker, chicagotribune.com, "Uncertainty remains over Illinois Obamacare premiums as other states reveal rate proposals," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Pentagon and Central Command both declined to comment on specific actions taken by Mr. Mattis and Gen. Votel in the run-up to the cease-fire. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Mattis, U.S. Commander Sought to Temper Saudi-Led War in Yemen," 31 Dec. 2018 As part of the tariff cease-fire, the U.S. agreed to put off a plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% on Jan 1. WSJ, "China to Suspend Punitive Tariffs on U.S. Cars and Auto Parts for Three Months," 14 Dec. 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Oct. 30 for a cease-fire and new talks in November. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Saudis Halt Yemen Offensive as International Pressure Mounts," 15 Nov. 2018 After several escape attempts and living on just a bowl of rice per day, Prince Michel and his group were freed after the French government reached a temporary cease-fire. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Philip’s Cousin Was a Paratrooper Who Helped Liberate France From the Nazis," 20 Aug. 2018 Bird began removing its scooters from Indianapolis streets Wednesday, almost a week after Lime, left the city and weeks after the city sent a cease-and-desist letter. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis scooters: What the proposed regulations could mean," 13 July 2018 Facebook issued a cease-and-desist letter to Grouply.io developers, who discontinued the Chrome plugin earlier this year. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Facebook Closes Loophole That Revealed Personal Data of People in 'Closed' Groups," 12 July 2018 The city issued a cease-and-desist letter to the three companies and impounded improperly parked scooters. Evan Sernoffsky, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bye-bye, SF scooters as Bird, Lime and Spin go on hiatus," 4 June 2018 Lime launched its scooter-share program last week without a permit, prompting the city to issue a cease-and-desist letter to the start-up. Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "Lime, plus two other companies, are bringing scooters back. Here is when. | Charlotte Observer," 17 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cease

Statistics for cease

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cease

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!