verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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Idioms for suspect
Origin of suspect
OTHER WORDS FROM suspect
Words nearby suspect
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does sus mean?
Where does sus come from?
In England and Wales, sus appears in sus law, a name for a stop-and-search law that allowed the police to arrest suspected persons if they appear in violation of the Vagrancy Act of 1824.
The British shortening dates back to the 1950s, with earlier abbreviations of sus for suspicion in other contexts reaching into the 1930s (and related to suss out). Black and ethnic minority groups felt especially targeted by sus laws in the 1970s–80s and ran a successful campaign called Scrap Sus. The law was indeed scrapped in 1981.
Across the pond, sus is short of suspicious, extended to people’s behavior, beliefs, or other things deemed “shady” or “sketchy” in some way. Perhaps a shortening independent from the British English slang, sus spreads online in Black and internet slang in the early 2000s, entered on Urban Dictionary as early as 2003.
How is sus used in real life?
In the UK, expect to encounter sus in the context of historic sus laws, often discussed in terms of racial inequalities in policing.
I need to remind my former @metpoliceuk senior officers that indiscriminate stop & searches without reasonable grounds through the #SusLaw in #OperationSwamp was a key factor behind the #BrixtonRiots. They need to refresh their memory of the #ScarmanReport. #InstitutionalAmnesia pic.twitter.com/WlvenyYn8L
— Leroy Logan MBE (@LeroyLogan999) November 12, 2018
On the internet and in Black slang, sus commonly calls out some behavior, action, person, or thing as questionable or objectionable. In this way, sus has come to mean “bad” more generally.
Sus has spread into more mainstream slang, notably appropriated by Tesla’s Elon Musk in a June 2018 tweet.
Looks so sus when we paint cars red pic.twitter.com/SIO2nInjhJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 23, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for suspect
By the logic of this book, a lot of music made without “real” instruments — a lot of the music in the world right now, and some of the best — may start to look suspect.The tale of a bass player, sonic epiphanies and a quest to save ‘real music’|Ben Ratliff|February 12, 2021|Washington Post
The suspect “was actually caught in the act,” prosecutor Arielle Hinton said this week during Cline’s first court hearing in the case in Montgomery County District Court.
On one occasion, the father reported a credit card stolen and said he suspected his son had taken it, police said.An Indiana man never returned from a hunting trip. Strange texts and emojis led police to his son.|Katie Shepherd|February 12, 2021|Washington Post
Parker Pearson suspects other, still-undiscovered stone circles in western Wales contributed to the construction of Stonehenge and Bluestonehenge.Stonehenge may have had roots in a Welsh stone circle|Bruce Bower|February 12, 2021|Science News
After the shooting, a suspect was seen leaving the area in a silver SUV, possibly a Nissan Rogue.Fairfax County police identify victim of fatal shooting in Reston|Justin Jouvenal|February 11, 2021|Washington Post
A fourth suspect, a 26-year-old woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, remains at large.
The third suspect, an 18-year-old named Hamyd Mourad, who turned himself in, is part of the same extended family.
The big slug happened to hit the suspect in the street, passing through his arm and then striking Police Officer Andrew Dossi.
I suspect [Teresa] will get money sent in to her, so she can shop at the commissary.How a ‘Real Housewife’ Survives Prison: ‘I Don’t See [Teresa Giudice] Having a Cakewalk Here’|Michael Howard|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In such beer polls, I suspect a lot of voters would pick Huckabee.
About this time the famous Philippine painter, Juan Luna (vide p. 195), was released after six monthsʼ imprisonment as a suspect.The Philippine Islands|John Foreman
In this case, I suspect, there was co-operant a strongly marked childish characteristic, the love of producing an effect.Children's Ways|James Sully
I suspect, from the evident care taken of it, that its product is considerably relied on for food.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
You see it for yourself, no Englishman ever shall suspect me, when we shall converse, of being other than a Briton.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
Only then did I own that by hook or by crook—and mostly by crook, I was forced to suspect—they had purposely given me the slip.Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair