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

If the suspense has you on edge, join the club — and watch T@gged season three premiere on December 7 on Hulu. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Noah Centineo Returns to Hulu's "T@gged" In Creepy New Season 3 Trailer," 29 Nov. 2018 By placing Geraint Thomas on top of the podium on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday, the British outfit ended three weeks of racing which sadly lacked suspense with a sixth win in the past seven Tours. Samuel Petrequin, The Seattle Times, "Team Sky’s dominance at Tour de France set to continue," 30 July 2018 Caroline Lampert had a hat trick for the Warriors, all three of her goals coming in the second half – her final tally part of a 7-0 run for Wayland that removed all suspense from the final outcome. Jake Levin,, "Sydney Scales, Audra Tosone (five goals apiece) lead undefeated Walpole in lacrosse," 14 June 2018 The singer-songwriter-actress could teach a masterclass on building suspense for her new songs off her fifth album, which she's been releasing one at a time. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Ariana Grande Teased Her New Song in the Most Brilliant Way," 14 Dec. 2018 There’s an overwhelming sense of dread and suspense lurking in the trailer, which means that season three is basically guaranteed to be a wild ride. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Noah Centineo Returns to Hulu's "T@gged" In Creepy New Season 3 Trailer," 29 Nov. 2018 The suspense over all this was palpable earlier this week. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Hello, Wisconsin," 12 July 2018 President Donald Trump has reveled in building up the suspense as other controversies swirl around him. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "A station could be making firefighters sick, Sue Bird makes history and more rescues from the Thai cave | Monday Morning Brief, July 9," 9 July 2018 Trump and aides have also been teasing reporters over the selection process, seeking to build suspense ahead of the big event. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "President Trump saves Supreme Court announcement for prime time," 9 July 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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Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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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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