[ suh-spens ]
/ səˈspɛns /


a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety.
a state of mental indecision.
undecided or doubtful condition, as of affairs: For a few days matters hung in suspense.
the state or condition of being suspended.

Origin of suspense

1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin suspēnsum deferment, suspension, uncertainty, noun use of neuter of Latin suspēnsus hung up, doubtful, in suspense (past participle of suspendere to hang up, leave undecided), equivalent to sus- sus- + pēnsus (pend-, stem of pendere (translation) to hang (see pend) + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > s)

Related forms

sus·pense·ful, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for suspenseful

British Dictionary definitions for suspenseful


/ (səˈspɛns) /


the condition of being insecure or uncertainthe matter of the succession remained in suspense for many years
mental uncertainty; anxietytheir father's illness kept them in a state of suspense
excitement felt at the approach of the climaxa play of terrifying suspense
the condition of being suspended

Derived Forms

suspenseful, adjective

Word Origin for suspense

C15: from Medieval Latin suspensum delay, from Latin suspendere to hang up; see suspend
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