[ suh-spish-uhs ]
/ səˈspɪʃ əs /
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See synonyms for: suspicious / suspiciously on Thesaurus.com

tending to cause or excite suspicion; questionable: suspicious behavior.
inclined to suspect, especially inclined to suspect evil; distrustful: a suspicious tyrant.
full of or feeling suspicion.
expressing or indicating suspicion: a suspicious glance.
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Origin of suspicious

1300–50; Middle English <Latin suspīciōsus, equivalent to suspīci- (see suspicion) + -ōsus-ous


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does suspicious mean?

To be suspicious is to have a suspicion about someone or something, especially to have a feeling of distrust about the person or thing. To be suspicious of someone most often involves suspecting that they are engaged in some wrongdoing, as in My parents became suspicious of me when I kept asking whether they’d be home tomorrow.

The word is commonly used to describe a person who is suspicious of someone or something in a specific situation. Sometimes, though, it’s used to describe a person who’s suspicious in general—meaning that they’re generally skeptical or distrustful. It can also be used to describe something, such as an action, that indicates that a person is suspicious, as in She gave me a suspicious look that meant she knew I was up to something.

Suspicious can also be used to describe someone or something that causes suspicion, as in The guards are trained to identify suspicious people, suspicious behavior, and suspicious packages.

Being suspicious is usually based on something, such as a hunch or some kind of evidence, but the word is typically used in situations in which there is some doubt—when someone suspects something, but isn’t sure. The same thing is implied by the verb suspect and the noun suspicion.

Suspicious is most commonly used in negative contexts, but this isn’t always the case. For example, you might be suspicious that someone is planning a surprise party for you.

Example: Police are encouraging citizens to alert the authorities if they see any suspicious activity on the subway.

Where does suspicious come from?

The first records of the word suspicious come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin Latin suspīciōsus, from the verb suspicere, “to mistrust.”

The word suspect is based on the same root as suspicious (ultimately coming from the Latin specere, meaning “to observe,” or “to keep an eye on”) and is often used in many of the same contexts. To be suspicious about something is to suspect something about it. Suspect can even be used as an adjective to mean about the same thing as suspicious, as in It seemed a bit suspect at the time.

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What are some other forms related to suspicious?

  • suspiciously (adverb)
  • suspiciousness (noun)
  • suspicion (noun)

What are some synonyms for suspicious?

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

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

How is suspicious used in real life?

Suspicious is usually (though not always) used in negative contexts, especially ones involving someone doing something wrong. It always implies some level of uncertainty about what is happening.



Try using suspicious!

Which of the following words can be a synonym of suspicious

A. distrustful
B. doubtful
C. wary
D. all of the above

How to use suspicious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for suspicious

/ (səˈspɪʃəs) /

exciting or liable to excite suspicion; questionable
disposed to suspect something wrong
indicative or expressive of suspicion

Derived forms of suspicious

suspiciously, adverbsuspiciousness, noun
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