verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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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
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.
There is reason to suspect a similar revolution in Arabia Petræa.Man and Nature|George P. Marsh
However, I suspect that they were more welcome to us youngsters than to our mothers who never seemed quite at ease with them.Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota|John B. Reese
Knowing that I had not, he began to suspect foul play, and determined on gaining admittance to me.The Heroine|Eaton Stannard Barrett
How little during the progress of our journey did I suspect its fatal termination!Manners, Vol 2 of 3|Frances Brooke
The triumphant tone of this imaginary catechism leads me to suspect that its author has hardly appreciated its full import.Essays Upon Some Controverted Questions|Thomas H. Huxley