• Cancel


    • IPA: /ˈkænsəl̩/

    Alternative forms


    From Anglo-Norman canceler ("to cross out with lines"), from Latin cancellare ("to make resemble a lattice"), from cancelli ("a railing or lattice"), diminutive of cancer ("a lattice").

    Full definition of cancel


    1. (transitive) To cross out something with lines etc.
      • BlackstoneA deed may be avoided by delivering it up to be cancelled; that is, to have lines drawn over it in the form of latticework or cancelli; the phrase is now used figuratively for any manner of obliterating or defacing it.
    2. (transitive) To invalidate or annul something.He cancelled his order on their website.
    3. (transitive) To mark something (such as a used postage stamp) so that it can't be reused.This machine cancels the letters that have a valid zip code.
    4. (transitive) To offset or equalize something.The corrective feedback mechanism cancels out the noise.
    5. (transitive, mathematics) To remove a common factor from both the numerator and denominator of a fraction, or from both sides of an equation.
    6. (transitive, media) To stop production of a programme.
    7. (printing, dated) To suppress or omit; to strike out, as matter in type.
    8. (obsolete) To shut out, as with a railing or with latticework; to exclude.
      • Miltoncancelled from heaven
    9. (slang) To kill.




    (plural cancels)
    1. A cancellation (US); (nonstandard in some kinds of English).
      1. (Internet) A control message posted to Usenet that serves to cancel a previously posted message.
    2. (obsolete) An inclosure; a boundary; a limit.A prison is but a retirement, and opportunity of serious thoughts, to a person whose spirit...desires no enlargement beyond the cancels of the body. — Jeremy Taylor.
    3. (printing) The suppression on striking out of matter in type, or of a printed page or pages.
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