Definition of suspicion in English:



  • 1A feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.

    ‘she had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at her’
    • ‘Audiences at home and abroad began to voice disappointment, some even expressing the suspicion that plans had gone seriously awry.’
    • ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that this guy had something to do with it.’
    • ‘Clinical suspicion is aroused early in patients who are under regular medical supervision, leading to earlier diagnosis.’
    • ‘For my part I have a sneaking suspicion that they have narcotics stashed into the software, for it simply is irresistible.’
    • ‘The strong suspicion arises from the following facts.’
    • ‘Benji had a creeping suspicion that this would be the answer to his question.’
    • ‘I have the strong suspicion that 2005 in retrospect will look like a pivotal year.’
    • ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that services would still be cut and that councillors would still see a steady rise in their allowances and expenses.’
    • ‘However, we all want to know if our sneaking suspicions are true.’
    • ‘I am now well into my third month of unpaid holiday and beginning to entertain the merest suggestion of an idea of a suspicion that I could get used to this.’
    • ‘Is her suspicion that all humans are capable of evil true?’
    • ‘That's unfortunate, because I have a sneaking suspicion that Clinton has some important and interesting things to say in his book.’
    • ‘Will's face was a picture of incredulous disbelief haunted by a suspicion that some of it could be true.’
    • ‘The suspicion that the virus is new appears to be well grounded.’
    • ‘Everyone has a sneaking suspicion there's something really fantastic, exciting, and breathtaking about life.’
    • ‘This initial scepticism was compounded by the suspicion that infections might actually provoke allergy.’
    • ‘The suspicion that the bill is merely a ploy to divert public attention away from the fuel price hikes could turn out to be justifiable.’
    • ‘The celebrity's presence alleviates the suspicion that the protagonists are doomed.’
    • ‘The forensic results recently released by the Dutch authorities have served to confirm a nagging suspicion.’
    • ‘I was left with a suspicion that the majority shared the anti-military animus of the plaintiffs.’
    intuition, feeling, impression, inkling, surmise, guess, conjecture, speculation, hunch, fancy, notion, supposition, view, belief, idea, conclusion, theory, thesis, hypothesis
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    1. 1.1 A feeling or belief that someone is guilty of an illegal, dishonest, or unpleasant action.
      ‘police would not say what aroused their suspicions’
      mass noun ‘he was arrested on suspicion of murder’
      • ‘Between 1984 and 1990, he had been arrested 4 times on suspicion of militant involvement.’
      • ‘Most of the detainees have been arrested on suspicion of illegal stay.’
      • ‘All the grounds require reasonable suspicion on the part of a constable.’
      • ‘Vague suspicions on the part of the police and secret services are to be sufficient for imprisonment.’
      • ‘Instead, it will reinforce suspicions of an official cover-up.’
      • ‘A fifth man was also arrested on suspicion of involvement even though he was not at the scene on Thursday.’
      • ‘Foreigners, upon whom such suspicions fall, will be deported with immediate effect.’
      • ‘The Canadian police doubted he was a genuine amnesiac and held him on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.’
      • ‘Two male employers were arrested on suspicion of employing illegal workers.’
      • ‘His suspicions arose, and he wondered what she was up to.’
      • ‘If nothing else, it might have quelled the widespread suspicion that the incident had been covered up.’
      • ‘A 23-year-old local man has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.’
      • ‘They have maintained that the evidence gathered raised strong suspicions.’
      • ‘In the Warminster area three people were also arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.’
      • ‘A 39-year-old man was arrested at about 10.30 pm on suspicion of assault.’
      • ‘The couple said yesterday they did not instantly recognise the man who came looking for a room, but said their suspicions were aroused by his reluctance to leave.’
      • ‘The five have been detained by police since late last year on suspicions of illegal separatist activities in the troubled province.’
      • ‘Surrey police said both men were arrested on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm.’
      • ‘I don't want to arouse any suspicions on the part of our enemy.’
      • ‘Those arrested are being questioned on suspicion of drug dealing, handling stolen goods and possessing illegal weapons.’
  • 2mass noun Cautious distrust.

    ‘her activities were regarded with suspicion by the headmistress’
    • ‘A wife's dedication to her husband must be utterly without suspicion or distrust, after all.’
    • ‘In few democracies is government regarded with such suspicion and scepticism.’
    • ‘An atmosphere of suspicion and distrust, unfortunately, still prevails.’
    • ‘On the other hand, there was suspicion, distrust, and hatred.’
    • ‘It leads to a climate of resentment, division, distrust, suspicion, and even paranoia.’
    • ‘There were heavily armed security forces on every street corner and there was a great deal of distrust and suspicion.’
    • ‘We're in a period when people have lots of suspicion and distrust about journalism.’
    • ‘It nurtures suspicion and distrust of politicians, and politics itself.’
    • ‘Eventually, the children may come to regard their fathers with suspicion and distrust.’
    • ‘These volatile people will in my opinion look upon us with suspicion and distrust for years to come.’
    • ‘Rather than eroding barriers between communities, a Berlin wall of suspicion, mistrust and hatred has been erected.’
    • ‘Property owners tend to view drifters with suspicion, and distrust their lack of stability.’
    • ‘On the whole, the legal system has not been entirely overhauled and this has generated suspicion and distrust on the part of investors.’
    • ‘He also learned that tweens are apt to regard big marketing blitzes with suspicion and distrust.’
    • ‘There's an air of suspicion and distrust about that permeates all walks and all levels of life, great and small.’
    • ‘Wrong perceptions result in a lot of anger, mistrust, suspicion, hate and terrorism.’
    • ‘A little bit of paranoia may keep us on our toes, but a constant state of suspicion and distrust is pathological.’
    • ‘They were able to overcome the distrust and suspicion, and I believe they worked for what we all want, which is good law.’
    • ‘Doctors said they were not regarded as a national resource, and their profession was regarded with suspicion and scorn.’
    • ‘This bill unfortunately panders to a culture of distrust and suspicion found among a minority of employers.’
    misgiving, doubt, qualm, wariness, chariness, reservation, hesitation, scepticism, lack of faith, uncertainty, question, question mark, leeriness, distrust, mistrust
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  • 3A very slight trace.

    ‘a suspicion of a smile’
    • ‘It shows no great sense of sportsmanship, but rather invokes a suspicion of envy of some kind.’
    • ‘Back in the brave old days of 1953, there were no avocados, no kiwi fruit, and not a suspicion of mozzarella and tomato pizza.’
    trace, touch, suggestion, hint, soupçon, tinge, shade, whisper, whiff, bit, trifle, drop, dash, tincture, sprinkling, breath, taste, scent, shadow, glimmer, scintilla, speck, smack, jot, mite, iota, tittle, whit
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  • above suspicion

    • Too obviously good or honest to be thought capable of wrongdoing.

      • ‘In any case, it seems to me that recusal is not about the technicalities of a conflict of interest but about making sure that the court's decisions are above suspicion.’
      • ‘A significant proportion of the surface measurements are therefore suspect, while the atmospheric measurements are above suspicion and reliable.’
      • ‘This is the UN's responsibility, he said, adding that NATO's reputation and credibility in the region is not above suspicion.’
      • ‘If our athletes and officials are serious about being seen to be above suspicion then training in Mexico should never have been factored into the mix, and should cease forthwith.’
      • ‘That's not to say he was above suspicion for conventional terrorist attacks himself - he is believed responsible for a number of bombings and assassinations.’
      • ‘I stepped away from that because I genuinely believed that the platform that I have as an artist, the work that I do with the United Nations, sits above suspicion because I have no agenda, so to speak.’
      • ‘The Republicans adopted the now-obsolete rule in 1993 as part of a campaign to portray themselves as ethically above suspicion.’
      • ‘She said her husband's patriotism was above suspicion.’
      • ‘Given the match-fixing scandals that are erupting daily from Africa and Asia, the departure of one of the few superstars above suspicion would be a huge blow to world cricket.’
      • ‘‘The court dismissed any suggestion that the manner of discovery of this exhibit was not above suspicion,’ they said.’
      reliable, dependable, honest, full of integrity, worthy of trust, honourable, upright, principled, true, truthful, as good as one's word, ethical, virtuous, incorruptible, unimpeachable, above suspicion
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  • under suspicion

    • Thought to be guilty of wrongdoing.

      • ‘What happens if any of the athletes under suspicion make the team?’
      • ‘Everybody is under suspicion but you don't want to hear about that.’
      • ‘We expect to learn more about the sting, where two men were arrested under suspicion of providing support for terrorism.’
      • ‘It would have been understandable after Scott came under suspicion.’
      • ‘Jones clearly was one of those under suspicion.’
      • ‘If people can't recognise the individual from this information, it means that every male TV presenter in the business is under suspicion.’
      • ‘By keeping quiet for so long they have made every other councillor who used the Internet come under suspicion in the public's mind with guilt by association.’
      • ‘All new restaurants immediately fall under suspicion, especially those attached to new guesthouses.’
      • ‘Some individuals under suspicion were therefore eliminated at a very early stage, while 1,500 have been convicted.’
      • ‘Maloney was already under suspicion by some district employees.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French suspeciun, from medieval Latin suspectio(n-), from suspicere ‘mistrust’. The change in the second syllable was due to association with Old French suspicion (from Latin suspicio(n-) ‘suspicion’).