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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Also Friday, the Israeli military said its Arrow defense system intercepted a missile that approached the country from the Red Sea, raising suspicion it was launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels. Tara Copp,, 3 Feb. 2024 Maynard had first come under suspicion on July 20, in the aftermath of a small fire discovered by mountain bikers on the southern flank of Mount Shasta. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, 2 Feb. 2024 Keeping them private will only raise the very suspicions these cameras are intended to dispel. Charlottefive Staff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 And as the adherents’ suspicion of traditional medicine, the media and the government has grown, more people are willing to put their faith in untested treatments and unproven claims. David Klepper, Fortune Well, 31 Jan. 2024 And perhaps the stillness of the air, the lack of any wind to speak of, contributed to a suspicion of what was to come. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2024 But the fact that teen-age boys were falling under general suspicion led to police abuses. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2024 Still, you’re left with the forlorn suspicion that their best efforts to find justice for the living and the dead, however commendable, are part of a campaign that might be endless. Joe Leydon, Variety, 31 Jan. 2024 The legislation sparked headlines and suspicion that Republicans were trying to stamp out their Democratic opposition. Romy Ellenbogen, Miami Herald, 29 Jan. 2024 See More

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 24 Feb. 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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