• synonyms


[dih-zist, -sist]
verb (used without object)
  1. to cease, as from some action or proceeding; stop.
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Origin of desist

1425–75; late Middle English < Old French desister < Latin dēsistere to leave off, equivalent to dē- de- + sistere to stand, place, akin to stāre to stand
Related formsde·sist·ance, de·sist·ence, nounnon·de·sist·ance, nounnon·de·sist·ence, nounnon·de·sist·ing, adjective, nounun·de·sist·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

relinquish, abstain, cease, forbear, quit, suspend, end, halt, avoid, discontinue, yield, pause, resign, abandon, surcease

Examples from the Web for desisting

Historical Examples

  • Desisting from their search, they resolved to keep a look-out.

    The Boy Slaves

    Mayne Reid

  • But Blue Streak had no intention of desisting as long as the roan was in front.

    The Fighting Edge

    William MacLeod Raine

  • Desisting, we fronted to each other, but not for an explanation.

    The War Trail

    Mayne Reid

  • Desisting from this, he began to wander about the far end of the field, aimlessly.


    James Joyce

  • Desisting from his labours, he regarded the mass of coal with studied interest.

    A Lively Bit of the Front

    Percy F. Westerman

British Dictionary definitions for desisting


  1. (intr often foll by from) to cease, as from an action; stop or abstain
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Derived Formsdesistance or desistence, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French desister, from Latin dēsistere to leave off, stand apart, from de- + sistere to stand, halt
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 desisting



mid-15c., from Middle French désister (mid-14c.), from Latin desistere "to stand aside, leave off, cease," from de- "off" (see de-) + sistere "stop, come to a stand" (see assist). Related: Desisted; desisting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with desisting


see cease and desist.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.