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See also: Cancel


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English cancellen, from Anglo-Norman canceler (to cross out with lines) (modern French chanceler (unsteady move)), from Latin cancellō (to make resemble a lattice), from cancellus (a railing or lattice), diminutive of cancer (a lattice).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkænsl̩/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: can‧cel


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.
  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.
    (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:)
  10. (transitive, neologism) To cease to provide financial or moral support to (someone deemed unacceptable). Compare cancel culture.
    • 2018, Jonah Engel Bromwich, in The New York Times [1]
      Bill Gates is canceled. Gwen Stefani and Erykah Badu are canceled. Despite his relatively strong play in the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has been canceled. Taylor Swift is canceled and Common is canceled and, Wednesday, Antoni Porowski, a “Queer Eye” fan favorite was also canceled. Needless to say, Kanye West is canceled, too.
    • 2019, Christopher Hooton, in VICE [2]
      We Spoke to Joan Cornellá, the Artist Who Really Should Have Been Cancelled By Now
    • 2020 February 5, Russell Haythorn, “An explanation of ‘cancel culture’ and why it's become such a popular phenomenon”, in The Denver Channel[3]:
      You may have never heard the term "cancel culture," but you certainly know some of the faces who have been canceled. Everyone from Cosby to Matt Lauer.
    • 2020 July 3, Kristi Noem speech at Mount Rushmore transcribed by C-SPAN[4]:
      To attempt to cancel the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms.


Derived terms[edit]


  • Gulf Arabic: كنسل(kansal)
  • Welsh: canslo


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


cancel (plural cancels)

  1. A cancellation (US); (nonstandard in some kinds of English).
    1. A control message posted to Usenet that serves to cancel a previously posted message.
  2. (obsolete) An enclosure; a boundary; a limit.
    • 1678, Antiquitates Christianæ: Or, the History of the Life and Death of the Holy Jesus: [], London: [] E. Flesher, and R. Norton, for R[ichard] Royston, [], OCLC 1179639832:
      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.

Derived terms[edit]


Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]



cancel m (plural canceles)

  1. partition; wall

Further reading[edit]