Meaning of CANCEL in English


can ‧ cel S2 /ˈkæns ə l/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle cancelled , present participle cancelling British English , canceled , canceling American English )

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: French ; Origin: canceller 'to cross out' , from Latin cancellare 'to make like a frame of crossed bars' , from cancer 'frame of crossed bars' , from carcer 'prison' ]

1 . [intransitive and transitive] to decide that something that was officially planned will not happen:

Our flight was cancelled.

I’m afraid I’ll have to cancel our meeting tomorrow.

You’ll just have to ring John and cancel.


In everyday English, people often say call something off rather than cancel something:

▪ We’ll just have to cancel. ➔ We’ll just have to call it off.

2 . [intransitive and transitive] to end an agreement or arrangement that you have with someone:

I phoned the hotel to cancel my reservation.

The bank agreed to cancel all the company’s debts.

3 . [transitive] to say officially that a document can no longer be used or no longer has any legal effect:

I phoned the bank to cancel the cheque.

• • •


▪ cancel to decide that something that was officially planned will not happen:

The teacher was ill so classes were cancelled for the day.


I was feeling better so I cancelled my doctor’s appointment.


They were forced to cancel the concert when the conductor became ill.

▪ call off to cancel a meeting, game, or event that you have organized. Call off is less formal than cancel and is very commonly used in everyday English:

Linda decided to call the wedding off.


The game was called off due to heavy rain.

▪ be off if an event or activity is off, it has been cancelled because of a sudden problem or change in someone’s plans:

I’m afraid the party’s off. Nick won’t let us use his apartment.


Myers called me yesterday to tell me that the deal was off.

▪ postpone to decide to do something at a later time, instead of the time that was officially planned:

The show has been postponed until next Saturday.

▪ shelve ( also put something on ice ) to decide not to continue with a plan, project etc although it may be considered again at some time in the future:

Plans for a new stadium have been shelved for now.


The project had to be put on ice due to lack of funding.


Blears called for the discussions to be put on ice until after the elections.

▪ annul formal to officially decide that a marriage, result, or agreement has no legal authority and is therefore cancelled:

The election results were annulled by the courts.


A marriage can be annulled if there has been lack of consent.

cancel something ↔ out phrasal verb

if two things cancel each other out, they are equally important and have an opposite effect to each other, so that neither one has any effect ⇨ negate :

The losses in our overseas division have cancelled out the profits made in the home market.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.