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See also: Cancel


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English cancellen, from Anglo-Norman canceler (to cross out with lines), from Latin cancellare (to make resemble a lattice), from cancelli (a railing or lattice), diminutive of cancer (a lattice).



cancel (third-person singular simple present cancels, present participle cancelling or (US) canceling, simple past and past participle cancelled or (US) canceled)

  1. (transitive) To cross out something with lines etc.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Blackstone
      A deed may be avoided by delivering it up to be cancelled; that is, to have lines drawn over it in the form of latticework or cancelli; the phrase is now used figuratively for any manner of obliterating or defacing it.
  2. (transitive) To invalidate or annul something.
    He cancelled his order on their website.
    • 1914, Marjorie Benton Cooke, Bambi
      "I don't know what your agreement was, Herr Professor, but if it had money in it, cancel it. I want him to learn that lesson, too."
  3. (transitive) To mark something (such as a used postage stamp) so that it can't be reused.
    This machine cancels the letters that have a valid zip code.
  4. (transitive) To offset or equalize something.
    The corrective feedback mechanism cancels out the noise.
  5. (transitive, mathematics) To remove a common factor from both the numerator and denominator of a fraction, or from both sides of an equation.
  6. (transitive, media) To stop production of a programme.
  7. (printing, dated) To suppress or omit; to strike out, as matter in type.
  8. (obsolete) To shut out, as with a railing or with latticework; to exclude.
  9. (slang) To kill.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


cancel (plural cancels)

  1. A cancellation (US); (nonstandard in some kinds of English).
    1. (Internet) A control message posted to Usenet that serves to cancel a previously posted message.
  2. (obsolete) An enclosure; a boundary; a limit.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jeremy Taylor
      A prison is but a retirement, and opportunity of serious thoughts, to a person whose spirit [] desires no enlargement beyond the cancels of the body.
  3. (printing) The suppression on striking out of matter in type, or of a printed page or pages.
  4. (printing) The page thus suppressed.
  5. (printing) The page that replaces it.

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