verb sus·pend \ sə-ˈspend \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of suspend

suspended; suspending; suspends
1 : to debar temporarily especially from a privilege, office, or function
  • suspend a student from school
2 a : 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
5 a : 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
6 a : 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
1 : to cease operation temporarily
2 : to stop payment or fail to meet obligations
3 : hang

Examples of suspend in a Sentence

  1. He was suspended from the team for missing too many practices.

  2. The police officers were suspended without pay for their conduct.

  3. The principal suspended the student from school for fighting.

  4. The city suspended bus service during the storm.

  5. The company was forced to suspend operations.

  6. They have suspended the peace talks.

  7. I advise suspending judgment until the investigation is over.

  8. Her license to practice law was suspended.

  9. We can suspend the rules just this once.

  10. He's driving with a suspended license.

Recent Examples of suspend from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of suspend

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

SUSPEND Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of suspend for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

SUSPEND Defined for Kids


verb sus·pend \ sə-ˈspend \

Definition of suspend for Students

suspended; suspending
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.

Word Root of suspend

The Latin word pendere, meaning “to cause to hang down,” gives us the root pend. Words from the Latin pendere have something to do with hanging. To suspend is to cause something to hang down from a single point. To depend is to hang, or rely, on the support of others. A pendant is an ornament that hangs free, as on a necklace. A pendulum is an object hung from a point that swings freely back and forth, as in a clock.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb sus·pend

legal Definition of suspend

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