From Anglo-Norman surseser, from Old French sursis, past participle of surseoir, from Latin supersedere. Spelling later influenced by association with unrelated cease.


surcease (uncountable)

  1. Cessation; stop; end.
    • Longfellow
      Not desire, but its surcease.
    • Francis Bacon
      It is time that there were an end and surcease made of this immodest and deformed manner of writing.
    • 1970, Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Bantam Books, pg. 217:
      For the individual who wishes to live in his time, to be a part of the future, the super-industrial revolution offers no surcease from change.
    • 1845, Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"
      Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
      And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
      Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
      From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
      For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore —
      Nameless here for evermore.


surcease (third-person singular simple present surceases, present participle surceasing, simple past and past participle surceased)

  1. (intransitive) To come to an end; to desist.
  2. (transitive) To bring to an end.
    • Spenser
      The waves [] their range surceast.
    • Dryden
      The nations, overawed, surceased the fight.