What's an antonym for "come into effect" when it is applied to rule/law?

Update: To make myself clearer: I'm talking about the situation when some rule/law was active (used and applied) and then at some point becomes inactive (doesn't have any power anymore).

  • 'Cease to apply/run', perhaps.
    – Dan
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 11:03
  • 1
    'Be repealed' if its a law.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 11:11
  • 2
    'Antonym' only works in clear cases. The opposite of 'come into effect' could be argued to be 'not come into effect', 'cease to apply', 'be repealed' and perhaps others. Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 11:16
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes. The law might never have reached the statute book and have never 'come into effect' in the first place.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 11:19
  • I've updated my question with (hopefully) clarification. I'm looking for the term for "become inactive" or "deactivated" applied to the rule/law
    – Troggy
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


If the law has been taken off the statute books, it has been repealed.

repeal vb (tr) {Collins}

  1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) to annul or rescind officially (something previously ordered); revoke

    these laws were repealed

If it is still on the relevant statute books but is no longer enforced, probably because it is seen as no longer necessary or helpful (or it is now realised that it always was petty, unjust or unenforceable), it is said to have fallen into abeyance.

in abeyance {Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English}

something such as a custom, rule, or system that is in abeyance is not being used at the present time

fall into abeyance (=no longer be used)

The Forest law fell into abeyance.


To abolish, according to MW:

to end the observance or effect of (something, such as a law)

Real-world example in the NYT:

"The South African Government said today that it had decided to abolish the laws forbidding marriage and sex across racial lines."

It can also be used for something that is the subject of a law, for example if there were a law allowing slavery, successfully voting to repeal that law may be put like this:

We voted to abolish slavery.

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