Cease and surcease

Cease and surcease are words that are related, but may be confusing. We will examine the definitions of cease and surcease, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Cease means to bring something to an end, to stop doing something, to desist or to go out of existence. Cease is a verb, related words are ceases, ceased, ceasing. The word cease is derived from the Latin word cessare which means to stop or to desist.

Surcease may be used as a verb to mean to bring something to an end or to stop doing something, but that usage is almost never seen. Most often, surcease is used as a noun to mean to bring relief or to allow a break from suffering, usually briefly. The word surcease is derived from the Latin word supersedere which means refrain or forebear.


HIGHLY popular Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle has made the heartbreaking decision to cease active treatment in his third cancer fight and begin palliative care. (The Herald Sun)

Snap will cease operations of its peer-to-peer payment service Snapcash next month, according to a new report. (Fortune Magazine)

Once you cease to be competitive – you generally don’t shut overnight – but your ability to attract that next round of investment is that much tougher. (The Guardian)

Buffeted without surcease, we risk becoming jittery gerbils on his hamster wheel, unable to distinguish his infinite vulgarities from his gravest harms. (The Huffington Post)

Though “The Crown” rewards close attention, it doesn’t seem to expect it—as evidenced by its way of reiterating all themes, especially those tied up with its media analysis, without surcease. (The New Yorker)

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