[ kan-suhl ]
See synonyms for: cancelcanceledcancelingcancelled on

verb (used with object),can·celed, can·cel·ing or (especially British) can·celled, can·cel·ling.
  1. to make void, as a contract or other obligation; annul: to cancel a hotel reservation;to cancel a magazine subscription.

  2. to decide or announce that a planned event will not take place; call off: to cancel a meeting.

  1. to mark or perforate (a postage stamp, admission ticket, etc.) so as to render invalid for reuse.

  2. to neutralize; compensate for; counterbalance: His sincere apology canceled his sarcastic remark.

  3. to publicly reject, boycott, or no longer support (a person or group) because of socially or morally unacceptable views or actions: Fans have been quick to cancel their favorite rapper or other celebrity.

  4. Accounting.

    • to close (an account) by crediting or paying all outstanding charges: He plans to cancel his account at the department store.

    • to eliminate or offset (a debit, credit, etc.) with an entry for an equal amount on the opposite side of a ledger, as when a payment is received on a debt.

  5. Mathematics. to eliminate by striking out a factor common to both the denominator and numerator of a fraction, equivalent terms on opposite sides of an equation, etc.

  6. to cross out (words, letters, etc.) by drawing a line over the item.

  7. Printing. to omit.

verb (used without object),can·celed, can·cel·ing or (especially British) can·celled, can·cel·ling.
  1. to counterbalance or compensate for one another; become neutralized (often followed by out): The pros and cons cancel out.

  2. 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.

  1. an act of canceling.

  2. Printing, Bookbinding.

    • an omitted passage, page, etc.

    • a replacement for an omitted part.

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.

Other words for cancel

Other words from cancel

  • can·cel·a·ble; especially British, can·cel·la·ble, adjective
  • can·cel·er; especially British, can·cel·ler, noun
  • re·can·cel, verb (used with object), re·can·celed, re·can·cel·ing or (especially British) re·can·celled, re·can·cel·ling.
  • self-can·celed, adjective
  • self-can·celled, adjective
  • un·can·cel·a·ble, adjective
  • un·can·celed, adjective
  • un·can·cel·la·ble, adjective
  • un·can·celled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for cancel


/ (ˈkænsəl) /

verb-cels, -celling or -celled or US -cels, -celing or -celed (mainly tr)
  1. to order (something already arranged, such as a meeting or event) to be postponed indefinitely; call off

  2. to revoke or annul: the order for the new television set was cancelled

  1. to delete (writing, numbers, etc); cross out: he cancelled his name and substituted hers

  2. to mark (a cheque, postage stamp, ticket, etc) with an official stamp or by a perforation to prevent further use

  3. (also intr usually foll by out) to counterbalance; make up for (a deficiency, etc): his generosity cancelled out his past unkindness

    • to close (an account) by discharging any outstanding debts

    • (sometimes foll by out) accounting to eliminate (a debit or credit) by making an offsetting entry on the opposite side of the account

  4. maths

    • to eliminate (numbers, quantities, or terms) as common factors from both the numerator and denominator of a fraction or as equal terms from opposite sides of an equation

    • (intr) to be able to be eliminated in this way

  1. a new leaf or section of a book replacing a defective one, one containing errors, or one that has been omitted

  2. a less common word for cancellation

  1. music a US word for natural (def. 20)

Origin of 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

Derived forms of cancel

  • canceller or US canceler, noun

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