See more synonyms for cancel on
verb (used with object), can·celed, can·cel·ing or (especially British) can·celled, can·cel·ling.
  1. to make void; revoke; annul: to cancel a reservation.
  2. to decide or announce that a planned event will not take place; call off: to cancel a meeting.
  3. to mark or perforate (a postage stamp, admission ticket, etc.) so as to render invalid for reuse.
  4. to neutralize; counterbalance; compensate for: His sincere apology canceled his sarcastic remark.
  5. Accounting.
    1. to close (an account) by crediting or paying all outstanding charges: He plans to cancel his account at the department store.
    2. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. to cross out (words, letters, etc.) by drawing a line over the item.
  8. 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.
    1. omission.
    2. a replacement for an omitted part.

Origin of cancel

1350–1400; Middle English cancellen < Medieval Latin cancellāre to cross out, Latin: to make like a lattice, derivative of cancellī grating, plural of cancellus; see cancellus
Related formscan·cel·a·ble; especially British, can·cel·la·ble, adjectivecan·cel·er; especially British, can·cel·ler, nounre·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, adjectiveself-can·celled, adjectiveun·can·cel·a·ble, adjectiveun·can·celed, adjectiveun·can·cel·la·ble, adjectiveun·can·celled, adjective

Synonyms for cancel

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

3, 7. 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cancelling

Contemporary Examples of cancelling

Historical Examples of cancelling

  • I went to my office to get my letters, and every blessed one was cancelling an order.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Phil manfully works for a year cancelling his father's debt, and then escapes.

    Breaking Away

    Oliver Optic

  • Phil manfully works for a year, cancelling his father's debt, and then escapes.

  • But in the judgment of literature the process of "cancelling" does not exist.

  • Under the circumstances I feel justified in cancelling our agreement.

    Frank of Freedom Hill

    Samuel A. Derieux

British Dictionary definitions for cancelling


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 annulthe order for the new television set was cancelled
  3. to delete (writing, numbers, etc); cross outhe cancelled his name and substituted hers
  4. to mark (a cheque, postage stamp, ticket, etc) with an official stamp or by a perforation to prevent further use
  5. (also intr usually foll by out) to counterbalance; make up for (a deficiency, etc)his generosity cancelled out his past unkindness
    1. to close (an account) by discharging any outstanding debts
    2. (sometimes foll by out) accountingto eliminate (a debit or credit) by making an offsetting entry on the opposite side of the account
  6. maths
    1. 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
    2. (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
  3. music a US word for natural (def. 20)
Derived Formscanceller 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

Word Origin and History for cancelling



late 14c., "cross out with lines," from Anglo-French canceler, from Latin cancellare "to make resemble a lattice," which in Late Latin took on a sense "cross out something written" by marking it with crossed lines, from cancelli, plural of cancellus "lattice, grating," diminutive of cancer "crossed bars, lattice," a variant of carcer "prison" (see incarceration). Figurative use, "to nullify an obligation" is from mid-15c. Related: Canceled (also cancelled); cancelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper