[ kan-suhl ]
/ ˈkæn səl /
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See synonyms for: cancel / canceled / canceling / cancelled on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), can·celed, can·cel·ing or (especially British) can·celled, can·cel·ling.
verb (used without object), can·celed, can·cel·ing or (especially British) can·celled, can·cel·ling.
to counterbalance or compensate for one another; become neutralized (often followed by out): The pros and cons cancel out.
Mathematics. (of factors common to both the denominator and numerator of a fraction, certain terms on opposite sides of an equation, etc.) to be equivalent; to allow cancellation.
an act of canceling.
Printing, Bookbinding.
  1. an omitted passage, page, etc.
  2. a replacement for an omitted part.


What Does It Mean To Cancel Someone?

Canceling, today, is used like an informal boycott, usually on social media, when someone or something in the public eye is offensive … or when we’re just over them.

Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of cancel

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English cancellen, cansellen “to annul, revoke,” from Anglo-French canceler, from Old French chanceler “to cross out with X's or parallel lines,” from Medieval Latin cancellāre “to cross out,” from Latin: “to make like a lattice,” derivative of cancellī “latticed barriers, gratings, grilles,” plural of cancellus; see cancellus

synonym study for cancel

3, 8. Cancel, delete, erase, obliterate indicate that something is no longer to be considered usable or in force. To cancel is to cross something out by stamping a mark over it, drawing lines through it, or the like: to cancel a stamp, a word. To delete is to cross something out from written matter or from matter to be printed, often in accordance with a printer's or proofreader's symbol indicating the material is to be omitted: to delete part of a line. To erase is to remove by scraping or rubbing: to erase a capital letter. To obliterate is to blot out entirely, so as to remove all sign or trace of: to obliterate a record.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What's the difference between canceled and cancelled?

Canceled and cancelled are alternate forms of the past tense of the verb cancel.

Canceled is the primary spelling used in American English, while cancelled is the spelling used in British English and preferred in many locations, including in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and Canada. Perhaps for this reason, cancelled is also occasionally used in American English.

This is part of a general British English spelling pattern in which a single letter L at the end of a verb is doubled when the verb is changed to form a different tense, such as by adding –ed for past tense or -ing for continuous tense. So cancelling is used in British English, while canceling is primarily used in American English. This same pattern applies for many words, such as counsel, but not all. When the stress falls on the final syllable, the L is usually doubled (the past tense of propel is typically spelled propelled, for example).

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between canceled and cancelled.

Quiz yourself on canceled vs. cancelled!

True or False? 

The spelling cancelled is never used in American English.

How to use cancel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cancel

/ (ˈkænsəl) /

verb -cels, -celling or -celled or US -cels, -celing or -celed (mainly tr)

Derived forms of cancel

canceller or US canceler, noun

Word Origin for cancel

C14: from Old French canceller, from Medieval Latin cancellāre, from Late Latin: to strike out, make like a lattice, from Latin cancellī lattice, grating
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012