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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web 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 There's always some suspense over who shows up and who stays away. Laurie Kellman, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump faces impeachment accusers in State of the Union: What to watch for during his speech," 4 Feb. 2020 And yet there is real suspense, in the way that the Trump Presidency has conditioned us to expect: Will there be wild new revelations? Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Spoiler Alert: There Will Be No Impartial Justice for Donald Trump," 17 Jan. 2020 The Blooms’ now-dark, now-comic relationship has a payoff in Act 2, which is all suspense and anguished intensity. Washington Post, "The drama of saving refugee children in 1939, and a journey that’s just as moving and meaningful today," 16 Jan. 2020 So there really wasn’t much suspense on Saturday night at Husky Stadium. Richard Dean, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Baptist offense amasses 749 yards in stomping of Texas Southern," 28 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about suspense

Time Traveler for suspense

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

5 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suspense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on suspense

What made you want to look up suspense? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!