Neutralize the effect of, offset, render void. For example, Anne's kindness to her neighbor could not cancel out her irritability. The verb cancel was used in this way by itself from the late 1400s; out was added in the early 1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use cancel out in a sentence
A reliably Republican midterm electorate will cancel out a Democratic-leaning presidential-year electorate and then some.
And if Clinton is willing to hit the state regularly, he can cancel out a lot of the Obama weight.
But it also passed because each side assumed it would be able to cancel out the half it didn't like.Deciphering the Sequester: It's All About the Spending | Justin Green | February 26, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
On average your total payout should be zero*: the tails should cancel out the heads.
The opposite, in fact: if all poor people were bad neighbors, the negative externalities would largely cancel out.
If you bring back a good report, perhaps we can cancel out certain—unfortunate items in your record.Derelict | Alan Edward Nourse
I had to cancel out the thrill that comes from challenging the unknown.Desire No More | Algirdas Jonas Budrys
I will vote to accept his application, and thus cancel out my colleague's negative vote.Star Surgeon | Alan Nourse
It began to cancel out its velocity away from the Platform, and to swim slowly and very carefully toward it.Space Tug | Murray Leinster
The ship couldn't land because its momentum was too great for the landing rockets to cancel out.Space Tug | Murray Leinster