Rescind vs. Withdraw: What's the Difference?
"Rescind" means to revoke or cancel formally, while "Withdraw" means to take or pull something back or away.
"Rescind" and "Withdraw" are two verbs that, while related in the sense of retracting, have specific nuances in their application. To "Rescind" often means to annul or abrogate an existing agreement, law, or order. For instance, a company might rescind a job offer. Conversely, to "Withdraw" means to take something back, often physically, or to remove from a situation, like withdrawing money from a bank.
Contextually, "Rescind" usually pertains to the nullification of a formal or official action. It implies a cancellation of what was once approved or sanctioned. For instance, governments might rescind outdated laws. "Withdraw", on the other hand, is broader and can be used in various contexts, not limited to official acts. An army can withdraw from a territory, or a student might withdraw from a course.
The term "Rescind" carries a sense of finality. When something is rescinded, it is as though it never existed or was never approved in the first place. In contrast, "Withdraw" doesn’t necessarily carry that same sense of finality. When someone withdraws an offer, for example, it doesn’t mean the offer never existed; it just means it’s no longer on the table.
"Rescind" is more about reversing decisions or actions, often in legal, organizational, or formal contexts. In contrast, "Withdraw" has a broader range, encompassing physical, emotional, and decisional retractions. One can withdraw from a commitment, but also withdraw from a social gathering due to discomfort.
To summarize, while both "Rescind" and "Withdraw" imply a retraction or pulling back of some kind, "Rescind" is specific to nullifying official decisions or orders, and "Withdraw" pertains more generally to the act of taking something back or removing oneself.
Part of Speech
To revoke or cancel
To pull back or remove
Formal actions or decisions
Various contexts including physical
Sense of Finality
Has a sense of nullification
Doesn't imply nullification
Rescinding laws or offers
Withdrawing money or retreating
Rescind and Withdraw Definitions
To invalidate by a subsequent action.
The policy was rescinded after protests.
To remove or take away.
She decided to withdraw her application.
To take back or cancel an offer.
The company had to rescind the job offer.
To pull back or retreat from a position.
The troops were ordered to withdraw.
To abolish or make void.
The old regulations were rescinded.
To take back or retract a statement.
She chose to withdraw her accusations.
To revoke or annul formally.
The board decided to rescind its previous decision.
To take back or away; remove
Withdrew his hand from the cookie jar.
To terminate an agreement or contract.
The seller decided to rescind the deal.
To cause to leave or return
The government withdrew its diplomats from the capital.
To make void; repeal or annul.
To remove (money) from an account.
(transitive) To repeal, annul, or declare void; to take (something such as a rule or contract) out of effect.
The agency will rescind the policy because many people are dissatisfied with it.
To turn away (one's gaze, for example).
(transitive) To cut away or off.
To draw aside
Withdrew the curtain.
To cut off; to abrogate; to annul.
The blessed Jesus . . . did sacramentally rescind the impure relics of Adam and the contraction of evil customs.
To remove from consideration or participation
Withdrew her application.
Withdrew his son from the race.
Specifically, to vacate or make void, as an act, by the enacting authority or by superior authority; to repeal; as, to rescind a law, a resolution, or a vote; to rescind a decree or a judgment.
To recall or retract
Withdrew the accusation.
Annul by recalling or rescinding;
He revoked the ban on smoking
Lift an embargo
Vacate a death sentence
To move or draw back; retire
The lawyers withdrew to the judge's chambers.
To leave or return, as from a military position.
To remove oneself from active participation
Withdrew from the competition.
To become detached from social or emotional involvement
After the snubbing, he withdrew into a shell.
To recall or remove a motion from consideration in parliamentary procedure.
To discontinue the use of a drug or other substance, especially one that is addictive.
To react physiologically and mentally to this discontinuance, often while experiencing distressing symptoms.
To draw or pull (something) away or back from its original position or situation.
To take away or take back (something previously given or permitted); to remove, to retract.
To cause or help (someone) to stop taking an addictive drug or substance; to dry out.
To take (one's eyes) off something; to look away.
To distract or divert (someone) from a course of action, a goal, etc.
To extract (money) from a bank account or other financial deposit.
Chiefly followed by from: to leave a place, someone's presence, etc., to go to another room or place.
Chiefly followed by from: to stop taking part in some activity; also, to remove oneself from the company of others, from publicity, etc.
To stop talking to or interacting with other people and start thinking thoughts not related to what is happening.
To stop taking an addictive drug or substance; to undergo withdrawal.
Of a man: to remove the penis from a partner's body orifice before ejaculation; to engage in coitus interruptus.
An act of drawing back or removing; a removal, a withdrawal or withdrawing.
To take back or away, as what has been bestowed or enjoyed; to draw back; to cause to move away or retire; as, to withdraw aid, favor, capital, or the like.
Impossible it is that God should withdraw his presence from anything.
To take back; to recall or retract; as, to withdraw false charges.
To retire; to retreat; to quit a company or place; to go away; as, he withdrew from the company.
Pull back or move away or backward;
The enemy withdrew
The limo pulled away from the curb
Withdraw from active participation;
He retired from chess
Release from something that holds fast, connects, or entangles;
I want to disengage myself from his influence
Disengage the gears
Cause to be returned;
Recall the defective auto tires
The manufacturer tried to call back the spoilt yoghurt
Take back what one has said;
He swallowed his words
Keep away from others;
He sequestered himself in his study to write a book
Remove something concrete, as by lifting, pushing, taking off, etc. or remove something abstract;
Remove a threat
Remove a wrapper
Remove the dirty dishes from the table
Take the gun from your pocket
This machine withdraws heat from the environment
Break from a meeting or gathering;
We adjourned for lunch
The men retired to the library
He bowed out when he realized he could no longer handle the demands of the chairmanship
Remove (a commodity) from (a supply source);
She drew $2,000 from the account
The doctors drew medical supplies from the hospital's emergency bank
He retired from life when his wife died
Make a retreat from an earlier commitment or activity;
We'll have to crawfish out from meeting with him
He backed out of his earlier promise
The aggressive investment company pulled in its horns
To remove funds from a bank account.
I need to withdraw some money.
To cease to participate in an activity or event.
He had to withdraw from the race due to injury.
Is "Rescind" always about laws or rules?
No, it can also refer to decisions, offers, or any formal action.
Are "Rescind" and "Withdraw" synonyms?
They overlap in meaning, but "Rescind" often implies formal cancellation, while "Withdraw" is broader.
Can I use "Withdraw" in the context of feelings?
Yes, like feeling withdrawn or choosing to withdraw emotionally.
Can a team withdraw from a competition?
Yes, it means the team has chosen not to participate.
What might be a reason to rescind a job offer?
New information about the applicant or changes in company needs.
Can someone withdraw a statement they've made?
Yes, to "withdraw" a statement means to take it back.
Can I withdraw my application after submission?
Yes, it means you're choosing to no longer be considered.
Can "Rescind" be used in everyday language?
Yes, but it’s more common in formal or legal contexts.
Does rescinding always involve a formal announcement?
Often, especially in official or public contexts.
How does one "Withdraw" from a conversation?
By no longer participating or physically removing oneself.
Does "Rescind" always imply a mistake was made?
Not necessarily. It means a reversal, but not always due to an error.
Which is stronger, to rescind a decision or withdraw it?
"Rescind" often implies a more formal and final nullification.
Are there any legal implications to rescinding something?
Often, yes. Rescinding contracts, for instance, can have legal consequences.
Is it common to withdraw from social situations?
Yes, some people might feel the need to do so for various reasons.
Can a company withdraw its products from the market?
Yes, it means they're taking the products off the market.
How do I use "Withdraw" in a financial context?
It often means taking money out, like withdrawing from a bank.
What's the difference between rescinding an invitation and withdrawing it?
Both mean to take back the invitation, but "Rescind" is more formal.
What does it imply if a law is rescinded?
It means the law is canceled and no longer in effect.
Can one withdraw support from a cause or person?
Yes, it means they're no longer offering their support.
Can a rule be both rescinded and withdrawn?
Yes, though "Rescind" implies a formal cancellation, while "Withdraw" is more general.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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Edited byHuma Saeed
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