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

Intel’s vision of one cable to rule them all was suspect when Intel announced Thunderbolt in 2015—in part because that was supposed to be USB’s role. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The new USB4 spec promises a lot: Thunderbolt 3 support, 40Gbps bandwidth, and less confusion," 5 Mar. 2019 High-concept, high-craft Plenty more happens in The Guilty, all from this sterile-looking call center: Asger tries coordinating police chases to snag suspect vehicles. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "The Guilty review: Even in 2018, a simple phone can be utterly thrilling," 21 Oct. 2018 The suspect’s social media posts were very supportive of Trump and downright threatening and vitriolic of Democrats as well as Republicans who were critical of Trump. German Lopez, Vox, "Trump: the media never blamed Obama for the Charleston church shooting," 30 Oct. 2018 The suspect later fled the home, leading to a chase which ended in the suspect’s arrest in Lake County, authorities in Sumter said. Jeff Weiner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Country club robbery in The Villages led to standoff, chase, deputies say," 10 July 2018 The victim was able to obtain a license plate for the suspect’s vehicle and provide a description of the suspect. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Porter County cop accused of exposing himself to women," 18 June 2018 The suspect’s name was not released and no details were immediately available on the arrest or on charges the suspect would face. Robert Moran, Philly.com, "Boy, 11, killed in hit-and-run in South Philly, suspect in custody," 18 May 2018 The suspect lives in Ravenna, so Westlake police contacted the Portage County Sheriff's Department, which arrested the 47-year-old man on assault and robbery charges. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Thieves break into Westlake business: police blotter," 12 May 2018 Hood said investigators processed the scene and interviewed suspect Juan Vazquez Cornelio, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Man arrested in early-morning sex assault of 10-year-old; child taken to hospital," 16 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The usual suspects were in attendance: Bethanny Frankel, Ramona Singer, Tinsley Mortimer, Dorinda Medley, and the cabaret countess herself, Luann De Lesseps. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "The Real Housewives of New York City," 21 Mar. 2019 Four other people, including a man believed to be the suspect behind the bar shooting, were injured in the incident. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black security guard caught a shooting suspect — only to be shot by police minutes later," 23 Jan. 2019 Russia, with naval bases just across the Baltic and a history of sneaking its submarines around Sweden, is the obvious suspect. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Mystery Submarine Spotted in Swedish Waters," 29 Oct. 2018 Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said Wednesday that 47-year-old Ramon Escobar was not a suspect in his aunt's disappearance when he was questioned Aug. 30. Fox News, "Latest: Foul play against suspect's missing uncle, aunt eyed," 28 Sep. 2018 Key clues: John Keene, Natalie’s brother, is a suspect in her murder. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 2 Recap: Appearances Are Everything," 16 July 2018 When one of the tallest skyscrapers catches on fire, Will is a suspect. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers," 12 July 2018 Following a five-day police investigation, neither was the suspect. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "They went to see ‘The First Purge.’ He stabbed a man over a reserved seat, Texas cops say," 12 July 2018 Kessler is a suspect in Cummings’ disappearance, authorities have said. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Police Search Landfill for Missing Florida Hairdresser — and Coworker Seen Discarding Trash Bag Is Suspect," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Botswana's military has killed some suspected poachers who illegally crossed the border, a crackdown seen as necessary by some conservationists but criticized by neighboring countries. Christopher Torchia, Fox News, "Botswana hits back at critics on anti-poaching policy," 9 Sep. 2018 As people around the world fall victim to The Burn, AR researchers begin to suspect a pattern. The Verge, "Better Worlds," 5 Dec. 2018 All of this might lead one to suspect that Burnham had a difficult childhood. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "How Bo Burnham Turns Anxiety Into a Work of Art," 12 July 2018 In keeping with a long-standing policy of not commenting on countries’ internal affairs, India declined to take a position on the Washington Post columnist’s killing by suspected Saudi agents. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "Saudi crown prince backs India’s fight against terrorism," 20 Feb. 2019 Brown's grandmother has reportedly been in contact with an investigator, and suspects the vape pen's lithium-ion battery is responsible for the tragedy. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Texas Man Dies After Exploding E-Cigarette Sends Shrapnel into His Neck," 5 Feb. 2019 Gacic is suspected of killing a grocery store owner near Konjic, southwest of Sarajevo, a week ago and shooting to death a policeman on Saturday in Suhodol, a village south of the capital city. Eldar Emric, The Seattle Times, "Bosnia: Major manhunt underway for suspect in 2 slayings," 11 Feb. 2019 Planet-size impacts are suspected to have occurred in our own solar system as well. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Mysterious Iron Exoplanet Could Reveal the Secrets of Our Own Solar System," 5 Feb. 2019 Arson is suspected, and opposition leaders have blamed Kabila’s ruling party. German Lopez, Vox, "Vox Sentences: A shutdown for Christmas," 22 Dec. 2018

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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Learn More about suspect

Dictionary Entries near suspect

Susian

suslik

susp

suspect

suspectable

suspecter

suspend

Statistics for suspect

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

English Language Learners Definition of suspect

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

suspect

noun

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

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

suspect

transitive verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suspect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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