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

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Other Words from suspense

suspenseful \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fəl How to pronounce suspenseful (audio) \ adjective
suspensefully \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fə-​lē How to pronounce suspensefully (audio) \ adverb
suspensefulness \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce suspensefulness (audio) \ noun
suspenseless \ sə-​ˈspen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce suspenseless (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The second hour is a livelier playing ground for the actors — and even mathy, considering how financial maneuvers play into the suspense. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Banker,’ starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, eventually earns its keep," 5 Mar. 2020 The suspense of the District 23-6A girls’ basketball playoff game between George Ranch and Dawson Friday night didn’t extend beyond the first quarter, which was just fine with Lady Longhorn head coach Shalesha Pierce. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Girls’ basketball: George Ranch races past Dawson in seeding game," 14 Feb. 2020 On the flip side of the issue are teams looking to preserve the suspense around their pitches. Popular Science, "The best way to steal signs in baseball," 28 Jan. 2020 Muna's passport expiration date nears, and the suspense ratchets up. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Saudi Runaway': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 26 Jan. 2020 For all of the suspense over the trial’s structure and nature, some clues on what’s to come sharpened on Sunday. Laurie Kellman,, "With Trump impeachment trial approaching, defense and prosecutors dig in," 19 Jan. 2020 Underwood expertly boosts the suspense by revealing there are actually four graboids, then blocks off the one road out of town and takes away each alternate option as the creatures close in. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Tremors turns 30, the most perfect B movie creature feature ever made," 19 Jan. 2020 For all of the suspense over the trial's structure and nature, some clues on what's to come sharpened on Sunday. Laurie Kellman, Anchorage Daily News, "No give: Trump’s impeachment defense, prosecutors dig in," 19 Jan. 2020 Big, bold illustrations that almost pop off the page and Freddy’s evocative facial expressions add to the suspense and hilarity in this high-energy holiday romp. Washington Post, "10 great holiday-season books to enjoy with your little ones," 2 Dec. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suspense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for suspense


How to pronounce suspense (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of suspense

: a feeling or state of nervousness or excitement caused by wondering what will happen


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

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