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ceased; ceasing

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

: to come to an end
the fighting gradually ceased
: to bring an activity or action to an end : discontinue
they have been ordered to cease and desist
obsolete : to become extinct : die out


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: cessation
usually used with without
I kept an eye upon her without ceaseR. L. Stevenson
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

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The first casualty is Portland Public Schools’ Online Learning Academy, which will cease operations in June as a cost-cutting measure, district officials said this week. oregonlive, 2 Feb. 2023 Ford employs about 4,600 people at the Saarlouis plant in Germany, where the company will cease making the Focus model by 2025 with no plans to produce any other cars there after that. Monica Raymunt, Fortune, 23 Jan. 2023 Time's Up will cease its official operations by the end of January and instead direct its remaining funds to legal defenses, it was reported Saturday. Justin Klawans, The Week, 22 Jan. 2023 Time’s Up will formally cease its operations by the end of January and direct its remaining $1.7 million in funds to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund (TULDF), The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Jan. 2023 Then maybe the brain flatulence will cease and the fools won’t try. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Jan. 2023 But now, just as quickly, Lantern is being snuffed out: Chief executive Meredith Mahoney has announced that the company will cease operations at the end of January, citing regulatory hurdles in other states that doused its expansion plans. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Jan. 2023 Democracy for America, founded in 2004 by former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, is running out of money and will cease operations this month, Politico reported. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 20 Dec. 2022 Economists and policymakers are becoming increasingly concerned about the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on employment—including whether some kinds of jobs will cease to exist at all. Karen Levy, WIRED, 6 Dec. 2022
Companies protect their trademarks by sending out cease-and-desist letters, hoping companies will comply. Dallas News, 27 Feb. 2023 One of them accused a female professor of being the killer, doubling down on the baseless idea after the professor sent a cease-and-desist letter. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2023 The broadcaster beIN has sent cease-and-desist letters to Earthlink, Iraq’s largest internet service provider. Samya Kullab, Fortune, 22 Dec. 2022 Mike Feuer’s office issued cease-and-desist letters to online platforms advertising fireworks sales in Los Angeles. Felicia Alvarez, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2022 Authentic Brands Group sent cease-and-desist letters in early May to multiple chapels, which are expected to be compliant by now. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 The two countries have been discussing terms for a cease fire, but there’s not been much progress. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Mar. 2022 Fogerty sent cease-and-desist letters to the Trump campaign and even joined TikTok solely to chide Trump for playing the tune. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, 29 June 2021 Many of those left behind are glad for the November cease fire. Meg Kelly, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English cesen, from Anglo-French cesser, from Latin cessare to hold back, be remiss, frequentative of cedere

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near cease

Cite this Entry

“Cease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cease. Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ceased; ceasing
: to come or bring to an end : stop

More from Merriam-Webster on cease

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