sus·​pense | \ sə-ˈspen(t)s How to pronounce suspense (audio) \

Definition of suspense

1 : the state of being suspended : suspension
2a : mental uncertainty : anxiety
b : pleasant excitement as to a decision or outcome a novel of suspense
3 : the state or character of being undecided or doubtful : indecisiveness

Other Words from suspense

suspenseful \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fəl How to pronounce suspense (audio) \ adjective
suspensefully \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fə-​lē How to pronounce suspense (audio) \ adverb
suspensefulness \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce suspense (audio) \ noun
suspenseless \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce suspense (audio) \ adjective

Examples of suspense in a Sentence

I can't bear the suspense. The suspense builds as the story progresses. Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense. The movie is a suspense thriller.
Recent Examples on the Web The Republicans competing for the U.S. Senate nomination in Tuesday’s primary here spent their final day of campaigning in a familiar state of suspense - checking their phones for a statement from Donald Trump. David Weigel, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Aug. 2022 But Armfield exercises an exquisite — even sadistic — sense of suspense. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 The Evil Dead movies, and horror movies in general, are made up of more than the aesthetics of suspense, fear, and violence. Wired, 10 July 2022 But the court ruling in Texas the following month that halted all new applications left her in an ongoing state of suspense. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, 7 July 2022 Other details so far are minimal—the better to build suspense, presumably. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 16 June 2022 Johnson, 48, used the social-media platform to build a bit of suspense (naturally) before the big reveal, explaining the reasoning behind the title. Jen Juneau,, 13 June 2022 Kawakami has good instincts for creating an air of suspense, although that’s not what sets her novels apart. Idra Novey, The Atlantic, 22 May 2022 There’s nothing new in TV seasons being split to build suspense. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suspense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of suspense

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for suspense

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from suspendre

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Time Traveler for suspense

Time Traveler

The first known use of suspense was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near suspense

suspend (one's) disbelief


suspense account

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Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Suspense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for suspense


sus·​pense | \ sə-ˈspens How to pronounce suspense (audio) \

Kids Definition of suspense

: uncertainty, worry, or excitement in wondering about the result of something Annemarie always tried … to build up the suspense and tantalize her sister.— Lois Lowry, Number the Stars

More from Merriam-Webster on suspense

Nglish: Translation of suspense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suspense for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about suspense


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