suspect

adjective
sus·​pect | \ ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) , sə-ˈspekt\

Definition of suspect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : regarded or deserving to be regarded with suspicion : suspected investigates suspect employees
2 : doubtful, questionable whose skills are suspect— Peter Vecsey

suspect

noun
sus·​pect | \ ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \

Definition of suspect (Entry 2 of 3)

: one that is suspected especially : a person suspected of a crime

suspect

verb
sus·​pect | \ sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \
suspected; suspecting; suspects

Definition of suspect (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to imagine (one) to be guilty or culpable on slight evidence or without proof suspect him of giving false information
2 : to have doubts of : distrust suspects her motives
3 : to imagine to exist or be true, likely, or probable I suspect he's right

intransitive verb

: to imagine something to be true or likely

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Examples of suspect in a Sentence

Adjective The room had a suspect odor. since she was carrying no cash or credit cards, her claim to the store's detectives that she had intended to pay for the items was suspect Noun One suspect has been arrested. She is a possible suspect in connection with the kidnapping. The prime suspect for the food poisoning is the potato salad. Verb He's suspected in four burglaries. The police do not suspect murder in this case. The fire chief suspects arson. I suspect it will rain. Call the doctor immediately if you suspect you've been infected. The latest research confirms what scientists have long suspected. I suspect she's not who she says she is. “We haven't done our homework.” “I suspected as much.” I suspected his motives in giving me the money. I have reason to suspect her sincerity when she makes promises like that.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Domestic servants and their aristocratic masters are equally suspect in the wake of a murder at a lavish British estate. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 In part by using unilateral executive action to enact background checks that would be constitutionally suspect even if enacted by statute. David French, National Review, "Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Plans for Everything’ Consistently Violate the Law," 9 Sep. 2019 The first 49ers penalty was a bit suspect: Kyle Juszczyk got called for offensive pass interference to wipe out an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Kittle. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers 31, Bucs 17: Studs and duds in a messy season opener," 8 Sep. 2019 The offensive line, which added free-agent guard Josh Kline and drafted North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, was suspect and needs to improve after allowing Cousins to be sacked 40 times. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Why the Chicago Bears should be the favorites to win NFC North this year," 2 Sep. 2019 Nevin Lawson is suspended for the first four games but was suspect in coverage at times during preseason, so his spot isn’t guaranteed upon return. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders’ beat writer Matt Kawahara’s fearless 53-man roster projection," 30 Aug. 2019 But to Kiers, the benevolent, cooperation-focused view promoted by thinkers like Margulis and Simard was suspect. Quanta Magazine, "Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests," 27 Aug. 2019 In that environment, the value of many of Viacom's second-tier channels, such as TV Land and CMT, is more suspect. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Viacom and CBS reunion likely marks first step into new frontier," 13 Aug. 2019 Another 20 percent said the election’s legitimacy would be suspect because so many candidates were kept from running. Time, "Businesswoman and Former First Lady Sandra Torres Is Ahead in Guatemala's Election, Early Results Show," 19 May 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Searches for Blanchard, suspects and any new evidence have continued, though police have slowed the number of updates released to the media and the public. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Aniah Blanchard disappearance: Suspect charged with kidnapping, still at large," 7 Nov. 2019 Detectives were at the fast-food restaurant interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence and looking for surveillance video on Monday night to establish a suspect and a motive, police said. Fox News, "Man dies after stabbing in Maryland Popeyes; fight over chicken sandwich, sources say," 5 Nov. 2019 Surveillance video of three men and three women stealing hundreds of dollars in clothing from and Arvada store was released Tuesday and police hope someone recognizes one or more suspects and calls investigators. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Arvada police release surveillance video of robbery suspects," 5 Nov. 2019 Police are still looking for the suspect and have called on him to surrender, Donelan added. BostonGlobe.com, "OXON HILL, Md. — A man fatally stabbed another customer outside of a Maryland Popeyes restaurant in a fight over the recently rereleased chicken sandwich, police say.," 5 Nov. 2019 Donelan asked the suspect and people who were in restaurant at the time to reach out to detectives. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Man stabbed to death after argument over Popeyes chicken sandwich," 5 Nov. 2019 Despite releasing sketches of the two female suspects and offering a $10,000 reward for information about them, authorities have made no arrests. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Sherri Papini Case, 3 Years Later: a Look Back at a Calif. Mother's Bizarre Disappearance," 2 Nov. 2019 Smith said there was no known connection between the suspects and Kamille or her family. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Birmingham couple charged with murder after abducted 3-year-old's body found in dumpster," 26 Oct. 2019 He was followed by the suspect and ultimately shot. Tess Sheets, orlandosentinel.com, "Family of man killed after Orlando road rage incident pleads for information: ‘We are very forgiving people’," 25 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Keiper suspected something was up when her mother requested nine tickets for the performance. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'The Nerd' wedding: Actors in Milwaukee Rep show are getting married day before first performance," 7 Nov. 2019 McCormick suspects that criminal organizations may have attacked the three families in retaliation against LeBaron and his activism against cartel violence. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "For Mormon offshoot groups in Mexico, a history of family traditions — and violence," 6 Nov. 2019 Based on interviews, investigators suspect that Robbins has committed the same crime on other occasions at the church and in other locations, including department stores. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Man suspected of recording juvenile using toilet in bathroom stall at Westminster church," 6 Nov. 2019 McCormick suspects that criminal organizations may have attacked the three families in retaliation against LeBaron and his activism against cartel violence. Daniel Gonzalez, USA TODAY, "Why offshoots of the Mormon church fled to Mexico in the first place," 6 Nov. 2019 The researchers suspect the number of infections between 2009 and 2017 was much higher. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Tipped off by an NSA breach, researchers discover new APT hacking group," 5 Nov. 2019 The history of cameos (and Holman knows it all) reveals something some of us have suspected all along: cameos always had cool within them. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Rihanna's New Cameo Collection Proves the Ancient Jewelry Form Has Always Been Cool," 4 Nov. 2019 Amy Howe of SCOTUSBlog, who covers the court and has argued there herself, suspects that Kagan, a liberal, didn’t make the decision to appoint the conservative alone. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "An unlikely hero could save the government agency designed to protect consumers," 31 Oct. 2019 Police in Alabama now suspect foul play in the disappearance of 19-year-old college student Aniah Haley Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight star Walt Harris. CBS News, "Police suspect foul play in disappearance of UFC star's stepdaughter," 31 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suspect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of suspect

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1591, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for suspect

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin suspectus, from past participle of suspicere

Verb

Middle English, from Latin suspectare, frequentative of suspicere to look up at, regard with awe, suspect, from sub-, sus- up, secretly + specere to look at — more at sub-, spy

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Statistics for suspect

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for suspect

The first known use of suspect was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for suspect

suspect

adjective
How to pronounce suspect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of suspect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not able to be trusted : causing feelings of doubt or suspicion

suspect

noun
How to pronounce suspect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of suspect (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person who is believed to be possibly guilty of committing a crime
: a thing that is thought of as a possible cause of something bad

suspect

verb
How to pronounce suspect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of suspect (Entry 3 of 3)

: to think that (someone) is possibly guilty of a crime or of doing something wrong
: to think that (something) is possibly the cause of something bad
: to think that (a crime) has possibly been committed

suspect

verb
sus·​pect | \ sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \
suspected; suspecting

Kids Definition of suspect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to suppose to be true or likely I hid the money where no one would suspect.
2 : to have doubts of : distrust I suspect his reasons for helping.
3 : to imagine to be guilty without proof “And if anyone here suspects us of murder, forget it, we both have … alibis.”— Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game

suspect

noun
sus·​pect | \ ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \

Kids Definition of suspect (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person who is thought to be guilty of something

suspect

adjective
sus·​pect | \ ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) , sə-ˈspekt\

Kids Definition of suspect (Entry 3 of 3)

: thought of with suspicion Her honesty is suspect.

suspect

adjective
sus·​pect | \ ˈsəs-ˌpekt, sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \

Legal Definition of suspect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: regarded or deserving to be regarded with suspicion or heightened scrutiny

suspect

noun
sus·​pect | \ ˈsəs-ˌpekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \

Legal Definition of suspect (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person suspected of a crime also : a person apprehended for but not yet charged with an offense
sus·​pect | \ sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio) \

Legal Definition of suspect (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to imagine (one) to be guilty on slight evidence or without proof
2 : to imagine to exist or be probable they had reasonable cause to suspect abuse

History and Etymology for suspect

Adjective

Latin suspectus, from past participle of suspicere to look up at, regard with awe, suspect, from sub- sus- up, secretly + specere to look at

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More from Merriam-Webster on suspect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for suspect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suspect

Spanish Central: Translation of suspect

Nglish: Translation of suspect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suspect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on suspect

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