Synonym Chooser

How is the word desist distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of desist are cease, discontinue, quit, and stop. While all these words mean "to suspend or cause to suspend activity," desist implies forbearance or restraint as a motive for stopping or ceasing.

desisted from further efforts to persuade them

When would cease be a good substitute for desist?

Although the words cease and desist have much in common, 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

When is it sensible to use discontinue instead of desist?

The meanings of discontinue and desist largely overlap; however, discontinue applies to the stopping of an accustomed activity or practice.

we have discontinued the manufacture of that item

When might quit be a better fit than desist?

While the synonyms quit and desist are close in meaning, quit may stress either finality or abruptness in stopping or ceasing.

the engine faltered, sputtered, then quit altogether

When could stop be used to replace desist?

In some situations, the words stop and desist are roughly equivalent. However, stop applies to action or progress or to what is operating or progressing and may imply suddenness or definiteness.

stopped at the red light

Thesaurus Entries Near desist

Cite this Entry

“Desist.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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