suspect

1 of 3

adjective

sus·​pect ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
sə-ˈspekt
1
: regarded or deserving to be regarded with suspicion : suspected
investigates suspect employees
2
: doubtful, questionable
whose skills are suspectPeter Vecsey

suspect

2 of 3

noun

sus·​pect ˈsə-ˌspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
: one that is suspected
especially : a person suspected of a crime

suspect

3 of 3

verb

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

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
State and federal authorities served simultaneous search warrants in December and detained the suspects, the CHP said in its news release. Ishani Desai, Sacramento Bee, 17 Feb. 2024 In Cowles’s case, the criminals said not to tell anyone what was going on because communications were being monitored and friends and family could be suspects. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Kansas City police arrested three suspects but released one Thursday. Jenna Thompson, Kansas City Star, 16 Feb. 2024 There’s no information on what led to the fight and shooting or the identity of the suspects. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 Feb. 2024 The two other suspects, both juveniles, still remain in police custody. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 An investigation revealed the suspect possessed burglary tools and stolen personal identifying information. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, 16 Feb. 2024 Six of the 10 suspects were taken into custody in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. Terry Castleman, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 The suspect drove to I-95 in Cumberland County and sped through Johnston and Wake Counties before exiting onto I-40. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 15 Feb. 2024
Verb
When Rasmussen's body was discovered in 1986, detectives suspected two robbers who had attacked another woman in the area. Christina Coulter, Fox News, 18 Feb. 2024 Even in the moment, Cowles suspected she was being scammed. Andrew Couts, WIRED, 17 Feb. 2024 Sony Pictures Classics’ The Teachers’ Lounge follows Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch), a schoolteacher who decides to take matters into her own hands when one of her students is suspected of theft. Beatrice Verhoeven, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 What To Watch For Texas and the Biden administration are facing off in court over a state law that would give Texas the authority to arrest people suspected of illegally crossing the border. James Farrell, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Many Nemtsov supporters suspected Putin’s administration of involvement. Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 The second suspect was identified and arrested after a search warrant was issued and executed by a SWAT team at a Compton home Tuesday morning, according to investigators, who suspect that a third person may also be linked to the shootings. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Zuniga would later learn that the deputy, Chad E. Burns, was chasing a suspect who had run a red light and was suspected of being impaired. Katie Moore, Kansas City Star, 15 Feb. 2024 Iranian officials warned the U.S. on Sunday about possibly targeting two cargo ships in the Middle East that are suspected of being spy ships for the country. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near suspect

Cite this Entry

“Suspect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suspect. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

suspect

1 of 3 adjective
sus·​pect ˈsəs-ˌpekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
sə-ˈspekt
: regarded with suspicion

suspect

2 of 3 noun
sus·​pect ˈsəs-ˌpekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
: one that is suspected
especially : a person suspected of a crime

suspect

3 of 3 verb
sus·​pect sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
1
: to have doubts about
2
: to believe to be guilty without proof
suspect someone of theft
3
: to suppose to be true or likely
I suspect that it will rain

Legal Definition

suspect

1 of 3 adjective
: regarded or deserving to be regarded with suspicion or heightened scrutiny

suspect

2 of 3 noun
sus·​pect ˈsəs-ˌpekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
: a person suspected of a crime
also : a person apprehended for but not yet charged with an offense

suspect

3 of 3 transitive verb
sus·​pect sə-ˈspekt How to pronounce suspect (audio)
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
Etymology

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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