In this blog there is a sentence:

The failure of the "I Surrender" leaflets led the American PSYOP specialists to carefully construct a leaflet with the words "I Cease Resistance."

Does "cease" more often express the idea of temporarily stopping doing something, or is it more likely to imply a permanent stoppage? The dictionary doesn't explicitly mention this point.

transitive verb
to cause to come to an end especially gradually : no longer continue
intransitive verb
a: to come to an end
b: to bring an activity or action to an end : discontinue


Actually, in at least one usage, "cease" is more final then "stop". A patient undergoing surgery might incur the statement, "His heart stopped beating for 30 seconds, but rescussitation was successful", but to say that "His heart ceased beating" would probably establish that he died.


You may have heard, in a legal context, of such a thing as a "cease and desist" order. There is a reason why this is not merely a "cease" order: To cease is to stop doing something; to desist is to refrain from starting to do it again. For example, strictly speaking, if I were ordered to "cease" making a loud noise, I could be silent momentarily, and then continue making the noise as before, and rightly claim to have obeyed the order. It is only a "cease and desist" order that would keep me silent indefinitely.

This is not to say that cease is never used when what the speaker really means is "cease and desist", but strictly speaking, ceasing (cessation) does not necessarily preclude resumption.

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