1 of 2


sus·​pi·​cion sə-ˈspi-shən How to pronounce suspicion (audio)
: the act or an instance of suspecting something wrong without proof or on slight evidence : mistrust
: a state of mental uneasiness and uncertainty : doubt
: a barely detectable amount : trace
just a suspicion of garlic


2 of 2


suspicioned; suspicioning sə-ˈspi-sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce suspicion (audio)

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal
Choose the Right Synonym for suspicion

uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust mean lack of sureness about someone or something.

uncertainty may range from a falling short of certainty to an almost complete lack of conviction or knowledge especially about an outcome or result.

assumed the role of manager without hesitation or uncertainty

doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision.

plagued by doubts as to what to do

dubiety stresses a wavering between conclusions.

felt some dubiety about its practicality

skepticism implies unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence.

an economic forecast greeted with skepticism

suspicion stresses lack of faith in the truth, reality, fairness, or reliability of something or someone.

regarded the stranger with suspicion

mistrust implies a genuine doubt based upon suspicion.

had a great mistrust of doctors

Examples of suspicion in a Sentence

Noun There has long been a suspicion that the painting is a fake. I thought the water might be making us sick, and my suspicions were confirmed by the lab tests. The note aroused her suspicions that he was having an affair. I have a sneaking suspicion that those cookies aren't really homemade. The new policies are regarded by many with suspicion. His story has raised some suspicion. I have my suspicions about his motives. Verb no one will ever suspicion that I'm the one who pulled the prank
Recent Examples on the Web
For years, park-goers have aired suspicions online about the program being abused. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 After a rift developed between Bell and his father, Joe Bell — who managed Bell’s career and had raised suspicions about Peck’s behavior with production workers — Peck stepped into Bell’s life in a prominent role. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 10 Apr. 2024 Much of his opening statement was spent casting suspicion on Lori Vallow Daybell and her brother, Alex Cox. Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman, 10 Apr. 2024 Mistrust and shy confidences are exchanged between the two families, nervously showing fright and suspicion beneath politeness. Armond White, National Review, 10 Apr. 2024 Rylance won an Oscar as mild-mannered minor agent Rudolf Abel, while Hanks (as real-life lawyer James B. Donovan) endures mounting suspicion for maintaining supposedly sacred American principles, facing career setbacks and death threats from his own countrymen. Dennis Perkins,, 5 Apr. 2024 Some of those suspicions, voiced by his fellow service members, later found their way into interviews with investigators and witness statements during Al-Halabi’s trial. Tamara Audi, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Adding to authorities' suspicions was the bloody syringe found in the bathroom garbage. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 30 Mar. 2024 This is the mode of cultural consumption where Major League Baseball has, time and again, failed to offer even a simulacra of transparency on a world where everything stands in suspicion. Corbin Smith, Rolling Stone, 31 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'suspicion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English suspecioun, from Anglo-French, from Latin suspicion-, suspicio, from suspicere to suspect — more at suspect

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1637, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of suspicion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near suspicion

Cite this Entry

“Suspicion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
sus·​pi·​cion sə-ˈspish-ən How to pronounce suspicion (audio)
: the act or an instance of suspecting or being suspected
: a feeling that something is wrong without definite evidence
: a small amount


2 of 2 verb
suspicioned; suspicioning -ˈspish-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce suspicion (audio)
chiefly substandard

Legal Definition


: the act or an instance of suspecting something : a mental state usually short of belief in which one entertains a notion that something is wrong or that a fact exists without proof or on slight evidence see also reasonable suspicion
suspicionless adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on suspicion

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