[ suh-spend ]
/ səˈspɛnd /
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See synonyms for: suspend / suspended on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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Origin of suspend

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English suspenden, from Latin suspendere “to hang up,” equivalent to sus- sus- + pendere (transitive) “to hang” (see pend, suspense)

synonym study for suspend

6. See interrupt.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does suspend mean?

Suspend most commonly means to cause to stop, to bring to a stop, to withhold, or to postpone, as in The bank has suspended payments or All activities have been suspended until further notice.

It also commonly means to hang something by attaching it to something else, especially with ropes or cables, as in We need to suspend the banner from the ceiling. 

More specifically, suspend can mean to officially punish someone, such as an employee, student, or athlete, so that they are not allowed to participate in an activity for a certain period of time, as in He was suspended for five games for fighting. A person punished in this way is said to be suspended.

The noun form suspension can be used for most senses of suspend to refer to an instance or the process of suspending.

Where does suspend come from?

The first records of the word suspend in English come from the 1200s. It comes from the Latin verb suspendere, meaning “to hang up.”

Most meanings of suspend can be divided into those that are based on the literal meaning of hang up—“to hang something by attaching it to something else”—or those that are based on the more idiomatic meaning of hang up—“to delay or postpone.”

When some activity is suspended, it is stopped altogether, usually in an official way, but often temporarily. Government agencies might suspend air travel for safety reasons or the management of a struggling company might suspend hiring.

When a person is suspended as punishment, the suspension often results from a serious violation of the rules, such as a student who cheats on a test or a professional athlete who tests positive for having used banned substances. Such suspensions are often for a set amount of time or, in the case of pro athletes, a certain number of games. The word is used in the same way in the context of a social media or other online account that has been suspended, such as for a rules violation.

To suspend your disbelief is postpone or ignore the skepticism you have about unrealistic parts of a story in order to enjoy it. (If you can believe it, the term suspension of disbelief was coined by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817.)

We’re glad you’ve hung around to hear the senses of suspend that involve hanging something from something else. A bridge whose deck (the surface on which people walk or drive) is suspended from cables is called a suspension bridge.

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What are some other forms related to suspend?

  • suspended (past tense verb, adjective)
  • suspension (noun)
  • suspendible (adjective)
  • suspensible (adjective)

What are some synonyms for suspend?

What are some words that share a root or word element with suspend

What are some words that often get used in discussing suspend?


How is suspend used in real life?

Suspend is a very common word that’s used in many different contexts. Most of the time it involves temporarily stopping something or hanging something.


Try using suspend!

Which of the following words is an antonym (opposite) of suspend when it means “to stop”?

A. freeze
B. postpone
C. continue
D. halt

How to use suspend in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for suspend

/ (səˈspɛnd) /


Derived forms of suspend

suspendible or suspensible, adjectivesuspendibility, noun

Word Origin for suspend

C13: from Latin suspendere from sub- + pendere to hang
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012