\ 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 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 Both services, owned by Facebook Inc., and others functioned poorly or ceased to work altogether in the hours after the attacks Sunday, according to users. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media Amid Bomb Attacks," 21 Apr. 2019 The announcement is something the militant group does every year, even though Taliban attacks never really ceased during the harsh winter months. Amir Shah, The Seattle Times, "Taliban declare start of spring offensive amid talks with US," 12 Apr. 2019 If the divorce deal is not approved, altered or put on hold, Britain will cease to be an EU member at 11 p.m. London time on March 29. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "If UK Parliament rejects May’s Brexit deal, what’s Plan B?," 14 Jan. 2019 If this block remains in place, systems with those cards will soon cease to receive security updates. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Windows 10 1809: iCloud incompatibility fixed, but other blockers remain," 28 Nov. 2018 Does the creativity of the Young Bucks ever cease to amaze you? Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "Q&A: 'The Villain' Marty Scurll On His ROH Triple Threat Main Event Match," 29 June 2018 Perhaps more ironically, EERE could cease to exist in a reorganization of the federal government proposed by the White House last week. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Senators question nominees for DOE's science and clean-energy research wings," 27 June 2018 If the repeal measure is approved by voters, the tax increases and new fees would cease beyond November. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "What you need to know about California's gas tax repeal initiative," 25 June 2018

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

8 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

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