sus·​pend | \sə-ˈspend \
suspended; suspending; suspends

Definition of suspend 

transitive verb

1 : to debar temporarily especially from a privilege, office, or function suspend a student from school

2a : to cause to stop temporarily suspend bus service

b : to set aside or make temporarily inoperative suspend the rules

3 : to defer to a later time on specified conditions suspend sentence

4 : to hold in an undetermined or undecided state awaiting further information suspend judgment suspend disbelief

5a : hang especially : to hang so as to be free on all sides except at the point of support suspend a ball by a thread

b : to keep from falling or sinking by some invisible support (such as buoyancy) dust suspended in the air

c : to put or hold in suspension suspended sediment

6a : to keep fixed or lost (as in wonder or contemplation)

b : to keep waiting in suspense or indecision

7 : to hold (a musical note) over into the following chord

intransitive verb

1 : to cease operation temporarily

2 : to stop payment or fail to meet obligations

3 : hang

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Choose the Right Synonym for suspend

defer, postpone, suspend, stay mean to delay an action or proceeding. defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time. deferred buying a car until spring postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time. the game is postponed until Saturday suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied. business will be suspended while repairs are underway stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority. the governor stayed the execution

Did You Know?

When something is suspended, it is "left hanging;" it is neither in full operation nor permanently ended. Suspense is a state of uncertainty and maybe anxiety. When we watch a play or movie, we enjoy experiencing a "suspension of disbelief;" that is, we allow ourselves to believe we're watching reality, even though we aren't truly fooled.Suspension can also mean physical hanging; thus, in a suspension bridge, the roadway actually hangs from huge cables. When some substance is "in suspension", its particles are "hanging" in another substance, mixed into it but not actually dissolved, like fine sand in water, or sea spray in the air at the seashore.

Examples of suspend in a Sentence

He was suspended from the team for missing too many practices. The police officers were suspended without pay for their conduct. The principal suspended the student from school for fighting. The city suspended bus service during the storm. The company was forced to suspend operations. They have suspended the peace talks. I advise suspending judgment until the investigation is over. Her license to practice law was suspended. We can suspend the rules just this once. He's driving with a suspended license.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Despite Senate Democrats requesting that the entire process be suspended until relevant documents could be reviewed, Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed back, and the hearing continued. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "70 People Were Arrested During First Day of Kavanaugh Hearings," 5 Sep. 2018 In fact, in late February, betting on McQueen has intensified so quickly that Betfair actually suspended all bets on Markle's dress designer. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "See Every Gorgeous Photo of Meghan Markle in Her Wedding Dress," 20 Aug. 2018 Jeremy Silbert confirmed that Moss had been suspended with pay and that internal affairs was investigating the allegations of domestic abuse. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore Police detective suspended after judge orders him to give up gun in domestic violence case," 13 July 2018 The Washington Post reported last week that Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June. Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, "Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers," 11 July 2018 The new starting quarterback, Kendall Hinton, is an experienced redshirt junior, though he’ll be suspended for the first three games because of an unspecified violation of team rules. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville football can (and can't) lose to Wake Forest," 9 July 2018 Lustig picked up a yellow card midway through the half and will be suspended if Sweden wins the match and progresses to a quarterfinal against the winner of the England-Colombia match. Houston Chronicle, "England defeats Colombia on PKs to reach World Cup quarterfinals," 3 July 2018 The good news is that the Department of Transportation will temporarily suspend construction projects statewide to clear the way for travelers as of noon Tuesday, according to a MassDOT statement. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Traveling somewhere? Prepare for a surge of holiday traffic," 29 June 2018 China also is likely pleased that the U.S. has suspended any major military exercises with South Korea as part of the nuclear negotiations. Lolita C. Baldor, Anchorage Daily News, "Mattis stops in Alaska on his way to Asia, seeks ‘conversation’ with Chinese," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suspend.' 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 suspend

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for suspend

Middle English, from Anglo-French suspendre, from Latin suspendere, from sub-, sus- up + pendere to cause to hang, weigh

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Statistics for suspend

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suspend

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

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More Definitions for suspend



English Language Learners Definition of suspend

: to force (someone) to leave a job, position, or place for a usually short period of time as a form of punishment

: to stop (something) for a usually short period of time

: to make (something) happen later : to delay (something)


sus·​pend | \sə-ˈspend \
suspended; suspending

Kids Definition of suspend

1 : to force to give up some right or office for a time The cheater was suspended from school.

2 : to hang especially so as to be free except at one point A light bulb was suspended from the ceiling.

3 : to stop or do away with for a time The principal is suspending a rule.

4 : to stop operation or action for a time All business suspended during the storm.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of suspend 

1 : to debar temporarily from a privilege, office, or function

2a : to stop temporarily suspend trading

b : to make temporarily ineffective suspend a license

c : stay suspend a hearing

d : to defer until a later time — see also suspended sentence at sentence

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Comments on suspend

What made you want to look up suspend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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