cancel (v.)

late 14c., "cross out with lines, draw lines across (something written) so as to deface," from Anglo-French and Old French canceler, from Latin cancellare "to make like a lattice," which in Late Latin took on especially a sense "cross out something written" by marking it with crossed lines, from cancelli, plural of *cancellus (n.) "lattice, grating," diminutive of cancer "crossed bars, a lattice," a variant of carcer "prison" (see incarceration).

Figurative use, "to nullify (an obligation, etc.)" is from mid-15c. Related: Canceled (also cancelled); cancelling.

updated on September 23, 2017

Definitions of cancel from WordNet
cancel (v.)
postpone indefinitely or annul something that was scheduled;
cancel the dinner party
Synonyms: call off / scratch / scrub
cancel (v.)
make up for;
Synonyms: offset / set off
cancel (v.)
declare null and void; make ineffective;
Synonyms: strike down
cancel (v.)
remove or make invisible;
Synonyms: delete
cancel (v.)
make invalid for use;
cancel cheques or tickets
Synonyms: invalidate
cancel (n.)
a notation cancelling a previous sharp or flat;
Synonyms: natural
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.