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 For people who are looking to craft their first thriller or suspense novel, MasterClass has an incredible opportunity to learn from the best: Dan Brown. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "'Da Vinci Code' Author Dan Brown Is Teaching a Free Class on Writing Thrillers (Video)," 15 Apr. 2020 Wolf bristles with suspense in the final section recounting the machinations that in less than two years elevates Hitler from leader of the number-two party in the Reichstag to absolute power. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Book review: ‘Wolf’ is the pre-World War II historical thriller you didn’t know you needed right now," 31 Mar. 2020 It is directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (The Night Manager and Bird Box), who excels at creating psychological thrillers replete with uneasy suspense. Sarah Midkiff,, "Watch Nicole Kidman Snap In HBO’s New Answer To Big Little Lies," 25 Jan. 2020 Troops on the base described it as a time fraught with suspense, fear and feelings of defenselessness. Tamara Qiblawi, Arwa Damon And Brice Laine, CNN, "US troops sheltered in Saddam-era bunkers during Iran missile attack," 13 Jan. 2020 Given the high cultural and economic stakes, however, there wasn’t all that much suspense in the air. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: San Antonio leaders made the only reasonable choice postponing Fiesta amid coronavirus pandemic," 14 Mar. 2020 Arizona's five House Democrats There wasn't much suspense about the impeachment vote in the House. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Look out, here's who President Donald Trump may attack at Phoenix rally," 19 Feb. 2020 But there was clearly suspense before going public. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "How 'Sonic the Hedgehog' avoided death by Twitter with a dramatic, game-saving redesign," 13 Feb. 2020 There will be suspense as the final envelope is opened, but both films deserve the most important honor in the film industry — for different reasons. Lara Horwitz, NBC News, "What did Kobe Bryant win an Oscar for?," 12 Feb. 2020

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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suspense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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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