sus·pense | \sə-ˈspen(t)s \

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 \ adjective
suspensefully \sə-ˈspen(t)s-fə-lē \ adverb
suspensefulness \sə-ˈspen(t)s-fəl-nəs \ noun
suspenseless \sə-ˈspen(t)s-ləs \ 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

After months of suspense, Lantern Entertainment will finally be able to close its $289 million acquisition of Weinstein Co. assets after a bankruptcy judge's approval on Wednesday. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Weinstein Co. Buyer Lantern Investigating David Glasser for Interfering in $289M Sale," 11 July 2018 The unboxing is meant to increase suspense, but the nonstop blundering only provides unease. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Please Face It: Instagram Story ‘Unboxing’ Does Not Work," 13 July 2018 Others shrugged off his apparent waffling as the showman president attempting to inject a last bit of suspense into his second Supreme Court nomination. Author: Ashley Parker, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "‘All a little misdirection’: Inside Trump’s sometimes-wavering decision to nominate Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Others shrugged off his apparent waffling as the showman president attempting to inject a last bit of suspense into his second Supreme Court nomination. Ashley Parker And Robert Costa,, "Inside Trump's sometimes wavering decision on Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Marvel content tends to be a favorite amongst fans, not to mention the fact that the storyline brings plenty of suspense. Brianna Wiest, Teen Vogue, ""Marvel's Cloak & Dagger" Is the Most-Watched Freeform Episode Since "Pretty Little Liars"," 13 June 2018 After more than a week of suspense, San Francisco now knows its mayor: London Breed. Romy Varghese,, "London Breed Elected San Francisco Mayor," 13 June 2018 But the possibility remains, and figures to be the main source of suspense on Tuesday night. NBC News, "California Democrats had a nightmare in 2012. They hope it's not back to haunt them.," 5 June 2018 That approach both creates an element of suspense about the moment when the crisis happened, as well as the prospect of being rescued. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Adrift' showcases Shailene Woodley in harrowing survival tale," 1 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to suspense

in suspense

the suspense is killing me

Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for suspense

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

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More Definitions for suspense



English Language Learners Definition of suspense

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


sus·pense | \sə-ˈspens \

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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