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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English suspecioun, borrowed from Latin suspīciō, suspīciōnem,[1] from suspicere, from sub- (up to) with specere (to look at). Perhaps partly through the influence of Old French sospeçon (or rather the Anglo-Norman form suspecioun). Equivalent to suspect +‎ -ion.


  • IPA(key): /səˈspɪʃ.ən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪʃən


suspicion (countable and uncountable, plural suspicions)

  1. The act of suspecting something or someone, especially of something wrong.
    • 1620, Giovanni Bocaccio, translated by John Florio, The Decameron, Containing an Hundred Pleaſant Nouels: Wittily Diſcourſed, Betweene Seuen Honourable Ladies, and Three Noble Gentlemen[1], Isaac Iaggard, Nouell 8, The Eighth Day:
      [] purſued his vnneighbourly purpoſe in ſuch ſort: that hee being the ſtronger perſwader, and ſhe (belike) too credulous in beleeuing or elſe ouer-feeble in reſiſting, from priuate imparlance, they fell to action; and continued their cloſe fight a long while together, vnſeene and vvithout ſuſpition, no doubt to their equall ioy and contentment.
    • 1967, Barbara Sleigh, Jessamy, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, published 1993, →ISBN, page 96:
      His unruly hair was slicked down with water, and as Jessamy introduced him to Miss Brindle his face assumed a cherubic innocence which would immediately have aroused the suspicions of anyone who knew him.
    • 2009, Andrew B. Fisher, Matthew O'Hara, “Forward”, in Andrew B. Fisher, Matthew O'Hara, editors, Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America, page 4:
      Given these entrenched ideological assumptions about the colonial order, it is no wonder that the state and those groups with an interest in the status quo viewed with suspicion and hostility any challenges to the fixed and "natural" boundaries between different sorts of people.
  2. The condition of being suspected.
  3. Uncertainty, doubt.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass. [] Strangers might enter the room, but they were made to feel that they were there on sufferance: they were received with distance and suspicion.
  4. A trace, or slight indication.
    a suspicion of a smile
    • 1879, Adolphus William Ward, Chaucer:
      The features are mild but expressive, with just a suspicion [] of saturnine or sarcastic humor.
  5. The imagining of something without evidence.


Derived terms[edit]


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suspicion (third-person singular simple present suspicions, present participle suspicioning, simple past and past participle suspicioned)

  1. (dialect) To suspect; to have suspicions.
    • 1876, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter XXVI, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Hartford, Conn.: The American Publishing Company, →OCLC, page 202:
      “Well, what’s more dangerous than coming here in the day time!—anybody would suspicion us that saw us.”
    • 1891, Rudyard Kipling, “The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney”, in Life's Handicap:
      Mulvaney continued— "Whin I was full awake the palanquin was set down in a street, I suspicioned, for I cud hear people passin' an' talkin'. But I knew well I was far from home. []
    • 2012, B. M. Bower, Cow-Country, page 195:
      "I've been suspicioning here was where they got their information right along," the sheriff commented, and slipped the handcuffs on the landlord.


One of three common words ending in -cion, which are coercion, scion, and suspicion.[2][3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Notes and Queries, Vol. VI, No. 10, 1889, October, p. 365
  3. ^ Editor and Publisher, Volume 9, 1909, p. 89

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from Latin suspiciōnem. Compare soupçon, derived from a related formation but not an actual doublet.



suspicion f (plural suspicions)

  1. suspicion
    Synonym: soupçon

Further reading[edit]