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 Officer Norman arrived on scene as the suspect vehicle began to back out of the driveway. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 16 Mar. 2020 Their quick action stopped this horrendous assault and aided in the suspect’s quick arrest. Alejandro Serrano, SFChronicle.com, "The Scanner: Investigation into Halloween night shooting at Airbnb rental going cold," 24 Feb. 2020 Police haven't publicly identified the suspect because family members haven't been notified. CBS News, "Man who'd been handcuffed fatally shot by officer in police car," 28 Jan. 2020 Just eight hours later, in a curly, dark-colored wig, the suspect struck again at a Wells Fargo in Gastonia, the flyer said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Authorities are looking for a bank robber they call the 'Bad Wig Bandit'," 10 Jan. 2020 The grand jury, considering the evidence laid before them, recommended the suspect’s prosecution on charges that, collectively, carried a maximum sentence of nine years in jail. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The “Cancel Culture” Con," 23 Sep. 2019 The suspect’s body had still been at the scene as of 10:30 p.m. Wednesday; his name had not been released. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al.com, "Birmingham police officer fires weapon in Southtown gun battle," 18 July 2019 The witness performed a U-turn, followed the suspect’s car and called 911. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, "Pickup truck swan dives into swimming pool: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 7 Mar. 2020 After the girl was taken, authorities issued an Amber Alert with a description of the suspect car, and a person who was driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike spotted the vehicle Wednesday evening. Rebekah Riess, CNN, "An 11-year-old girl was rescued hours after an Amber Alert. A day before her abduction, video captured a suspicious car driving behind her," 16 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since his arrest last week, more than 2.6 million people have supported an online petition asking the government to break with customary anonymity for suspects. Melina Delkic, New York Times, "Coronavirus, India’s lockdown, Jamal Khashoggi: Your Thursday Briefing," 25 Mar. 2020 An Opelika man died Saturday after being stabbed repeatedly and police are searching for a suspect. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, "Opelika man stabbed to death, police search for suspect," 22 Mar. 2020 In the name of social distancing, officials in at least two Oklahoma counties have agreed to suspend warrants for suspects in non-violent crimes, including vehicle thefts. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus is altering operations in the trenches of America's criminal justice system," 22 Mar. 2020 Tsunogae alleges the police were desperate for a suspect and keen to pin the crime on Iwao. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "This Japanese man spent almost five decades on death row. He could go back," 21 Mar. 2020 Police have requested a warrant for the suspect for misidentification and driving under suspension. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, "Suspect said ‘time to rumble’: Westlake Police Blotter," 21 Mar. 2020 Police are searching for a suspect who struck and killed a 28-year-old man on a scooter Saturday night in Old East Dallas. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "Dallas police searching for suspect in fatal hit-and-run crash with scooter operator," 17 Mar. 2020 San Francisco police were looking for a suspect following a fatal shooting at Jones and McAllister streets in the Tenderloin early Saturday. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "SF Tenderloin killing: One dead in early morning attack," 14 Mar. 2020 Police are searching for another suspect, and the chief said a second arrest is expected soon. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "San Francisco police arrest suspect in filmed attack of Asian man collecting recyclables," 28 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Smith and others suspect that coronavirus has been lurking in the Bay Area for months. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "School closures, medical tents. What happens when coronavirus engulfs Silicon Valley," 15 Mar. 2020 Nathanson suspects that, at least for viruses, their viability outside the human body is more important. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Why do dozens of diseases wax and wane with the seasons—and will COVID-19?," 13 Mar. 2020 The company suspects a former employee who had been fired. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Drunk driver crashes gate at NASA Glenn: Brook Park Police Blotter," 13 Mar. 2020 Virologists or researchers in both the Japanese and Chinese cases suspect that the patients weren’t re-infected so soon. oregonlive, "How contagious is the new coronavirus? Can you catch it twice?," 13 Mar. 2020 Joseph Pfaller of the University of Florida therefore suspects that something more complicated is going on. The Economist, "Ocean pollution Plastic rubbish smells good to turtles," 12 Mar. 2020 Experts suspect that most products sold directly by Amazon have prices set largely by algorithms. Talmon Joseph Smith, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus Exposes Amazon’s Algorithmic Greed," 11 Mar. 2020 Dallas police suspect the deaths of a father, his two sons and a woman at a hotel in Far North Dallas on Tuesday were a murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday. Dana Branham, Dallas News, "Father, sons among 4 shot to death in possible murder-suicide, Dallas police say," 11 Mar. 2020 But many epidemiologists suspect mild symptoms may simply be masking that children are getting infected the same rates as adults. Author: William Wan, Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus is mysteriously sparing kids and killing the elderly. Understanding why may help defeat it.," 10 Mar. 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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suspect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suspect. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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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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