suspense

noun
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

On top of the flashbacks, the editing frequently jumps confusingly between cross-current action sequences in different locations, in ways that create avoidable narrative confusion rather than suspense. Aja Romano, Vox, "Stranger Things season 3 is charming but frustrating. Here’s a spoiler-free review.," 30 June 2019 Morant has visited with Memphis and New York, but barring an unexpected turn, this pick won’t come with much suspense. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2019 NBA Mock Draft 10.0: Anthony Davis Trade Shakes Up the Lottery," 17 June 2019 Kevin Durant came on board and wiped away any suspense about building a dynasty. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "The Warriors fall, and the Western Conference rises from hibernation," 14 June 2019 Stranger Things mirrors the shift between Alien and Aliens by moving away from slow-burn suspense to deliver high-stakes action horror. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Stranger Things season 3 goes full Aliens with its action," 5 July 2019 Mystery and suspense are quick to build as the characters realize that there’s something not quite right with this fancy spa — a revelation that bonds and inspires them. NBC News, "Obsessed with 'Fleabag', 'Big Little Lies' or 'Chernobyl'? Binge on one of these books next.," 24 June 2019 Expect the unexpected in this over-the-top and often dramatic(ish) reimagined tale of mystery and suspense . Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Everything Coming To Netflix In July," 20 June 2019 The person who had held me in such terrifying suspense was my own stepfather. Washington Post, "I opened up about my stalker to a true crime podcast. Here’s why it helped me heal.," 19 June 2019 The only team to get in Salpointe's way the last three years was Shadow Mountain, the last two 4A finals having great suspense. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Salpointe's Evan Nelson gives up MVP trophy to teammate after leading basketball team to PrimeTime title," 15 June 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

Statistics for suspense

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suspense

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for suspense

suspense

noun

English Language Learners Definition of suspense

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

suspense

noun
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).

WORD OF THE DAY

appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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