What does sus mean?


Sus is a shortening of suspicious or suspect. In slang, it has the sense of "questionable" or "shady." 

Examples of sus


Examples of sus
U sus for that one
@1glogary, October 2018
So tell me how I went to @ultabeauty to get some DesixKaty stuff and the security girl was following me around. Is their stuff so $$$ that I’d stick it in my bag? Was she doing her rounds and it was coincidentally the aisles I was walking? Was I dressed too bummy so I look sus?
@LonMoniique, October 2018

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 1970–80 and ran a successful campaign called Scrap Sus. The law was indeed scrapped in 1981.

Write Opinions

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.

Who uses sus?

In the UK, expect to encounter sus in the context of historic sus laws, often discussed in terms of racial inequalities in policing.

On the internet and in black slang, sus commonly calls 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.

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