sua·​sion ˈswā-zhən How to pronounce suasion (audio)
: the act of influencing or persuading
suasive adjective
suasively adverb
suasiveness noun

Examples of suasion in a Sentence

a defense lawyer uses not only legal arguments but also moral suasion to appeal to a jury's sense of right and wrong
Recent Examples on the Web In this brilliant new look at the destruction of slavery during the American Civil War, Oakes reveals how the U.S. abolitionist movement relied not only on high-minded moral suasion but also on the small-bore legalistic strategy of the Republican Party. James Oakes, Foreign Affairs, 27 Dec. 2012 Beyond moral suasion is a clear policy against any form of discrimination that happens to be taking place. Alyson Shontell, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2023 As psychologist Asa Hilliard later explained, among those strategies were moral suasion, litigation, grassroots organizing, civil disobedience, economic boycotts, the solicitation of corporate sponsors and the use of television. Bev-Freda Jackson, The Conversation, 25 Aug. 2023 This is why Augustus attempted to use moral suasion and coercion to have the Roman Senatorial class reproduce at a higher rate. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 25 Aug. 2010 The only real option, and perhaps the best option, is for the Supreme Court to proactively subject its nonjudicial activities — financial, personal and family relationships — to public scrutiny and allow the force of moral suasion and the concept of shame to play out. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2023 For there had been dissension in the ranks—and rancor: disagreements about whether women should participate in the society, disagreements about Garrison’s policy of moral suasion, disagreements about whether abolitionists should work with politicians. Brenda Wineapple, The New York Review of Books, 19 Oct. 2022 Their effect, Hirshman argues, was to drive Douglass out of the Garrisonian wing of abolition, with its dedication to the exclusive power of moral suasion, into the arms of the New York antislavery activists led by Gerrit Smith, who saw political action as the path to freedom. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2022 Corporate boards have found ways to circumvent efforts to rein in executive pay through tax rules, shareholder voting options, and moral suasion. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'suasion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin suasion-, suasio, from suadēre to urge, persuade — more at sweet

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of suasion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near suasion

Cite this Entry

“Suasion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


sua·​sion ˈswā-zhən How to pronounce suasion (audio)
: the act of influencing or persuading
moral suasion
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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