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 The Cowboys’ defense is suspect, but the Giants are too banged up to take advantage. Los Angeles Times, "NFL Week 17 picks: Washington wins and makes playoffs; Rams top Cardinals," 1 Jan. 2021 Haskins has the arm talent, but his decision-making continues to be suspect and Carolina can capitalize on those mistakes. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fantasy Football Week 16: Add and Drop (Championship edition)," 22 Dec. 2020 The application of the laches doctrine is suspect at best: While the Trump campaign could have complained before the election, the illicit actions did not happen until after the voting took place. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Biden Won Wisconsin, but It Was Even Closer Than Reported," 17 Dec. 2020 Their gap integrity against the run has constantly been suspect due to a tendency to get displaced by a wide variety of blocks. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 potential defensive tackle targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL draft," 16 Dec. 2020 For Leiris, even self-esteem is suspect, another trap between you and experience. Sasha Frere-jones, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Saw Through Himself," 9 Dec. 2020 News reports have shown that some inspectors were unqualified and record-keeping from some inspections was suspect. R. Stephanie Bruno, NOLA.com, "New list of New Orleans endangered sites includes old school, former church," 28 Nov. 2020 California has passed two privacy laws in the past two years, while Michigan voters endorsed new rules around police access to suspect data. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "As Cities Curb Surveillance, Baltimore Police Took to the Air," 27 Nov. 2020 The engineers concluded that all the cables were suspect and might not be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Arecibo Observatory, a Great Eye on the Cosmos, Is Going Dark," 19 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun East Cleveland police officers shot and killed a man after a pursuit that ended when the suspect’s car caught fire, East Cleveland police Chief Scott Gardner said. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "East Cleveland police officers shoot and kill man during pursuit that ended in car fire, chief says," 6 Jan. 2021 At least 30 shots were exchanged between a suspect and officers in the 900 block of 24th Street South. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Barrage of shots fired toward Birmingham police in Southtown; search on for suspect," 5 Jan. 2021 The driver left the vehicle and police believe the suspect was picked up by another vehicle, according to Capt. Janelle Jessen, Arkansas Online, "Pickup truck hits Siloam Springs Intermediate School," 5 Jan. 2021 Police described the suspect as a White male, 5-foot-8, weighing 170 pounds. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, "Portland attempted murder suspect remains on the lam two days after escape from holding cell," 5 Jan. 2021 But here's the problem: When authorities use a stingray to capture a suspect's location through their device's GPS data, the gadget also collects information from the phones of innocent passersby. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "The High-Tech Way the Feds Found Ghislaine Maxwell," 5 Jan. 2021 Though the murder had taken place in broad daylight with several witnesses, law enforcement never identified any suspect. Christopher Frear, Smithsonian Magazine, "Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman," 5 Jan. 2021 Police attempted to detain the suspect's car, which was parked at a convenience store. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Suspect in shooting at Texas church identified and in custody," 4 Jan. 2021 Police did not provide any details about what led to the shooting or any information about a possible suspect or suspects. Dana Branham, Dallas News, "Man fatally shot in Pleasant Grove, Dallas police say," 3 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But consistently, suspect right-wing sources show up with far greater frequency than legitimate news organizations. Siva Vaidhyanathan, The New Republic, "Making Sense of the Facebook Menace," 5 Jan. 2021 Not to mention, her own family — the Featheringtons — is often the subject of scathing criticism from Lady Whistledown (which is certainly a genius move to ensure that no one will suspect her!). Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Lady Whistledown in 'Bridgerton'? All the Clues You Missed From the Netflix Drama," 4 Jan. 2021 The bootleggers figured few would suspect a teen girl smuggler in 1930. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "She was 15-year-old smuggler in Detroit: How her family's shop became Woodbridge Tavern," 2 Jan. 2021 Authorities also have linked him to or suspect he is connected to additional shootings in Dallas, Denton, Frisco and Prosper. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "From a surge in Dallas homicides to a fugitive finally captured, the crime stories that defined 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 No more information was immediately available, including his age, condition or a possible motive or suspect in the shooting. Carlie Wells, NOLA.com, "Man shot in Little Woods area, New Orleans police say," 23 Dec. 2020 The virus can bounce from the worker to a resident, who might then pass it on to another worker, who might then pass it on to other residents and staff – all before managers even suspect the virus is within the facility’s walls. oregonlive, "’The end of an incredibly long road’ as first Oregon senior care home staff and residents get coronavirus vaccine," 22 Dec. 2020 Though Sheikh and others strongly suspect that the signal is really human in origin, BLC-1 is the most tantalizing detection Breakthrough has made so far in its search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI. Nadia Drake, Science, "Alien hunters detect mysterious radio signal from nearby star," 18 Dec. 2020 Axios first reported Swalwell's connection, along with a number of other politicians, to Christine Fang or Fang Fang, a Chinese national that U.S. officials suspect was involved in a Chinese intelligence operation. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "'He should've known better': Matt Gaetz criticizes Eric Swalwell over China spy scandal," 11 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for suspect

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for suspect

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Suspect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suspect. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on suspect

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