Definition of suspense in US English:

suspense

noun

  • 1A state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.

    ‘come on, Fran, don't keep me in suspense!’
    • ‘He knows how to build suspense, delight, alarm, shock, despair.’
    • ‘It's odd, but it keeps you in suspense for what will happen next.’
    • ‘If anything, knowing the plot and the protagonists will heighten the suspense.’
    • ‘It's wonderful that I put you in suspense if that hardly ever happens.’
    • ‘I was sitting in suspense wondering what exactly had happened.’
    • ‘For an hour after the decision was made in Singapore, the crowd in front of city hall was still waiting in suspense for the official announcement.’
    • ‘Then I went out, because I couldn't bear the suspense of waiting to see if it would set.’
    • ‘She paces herself, keeps the reader in suspense.’
    • ‘I can't stand the suspense of waiting for the machine to get it.’
    • ‘Sometimes it's the little things that happen or don't happen that heighten suspense.’
    • ‘The crowd is in suspense, wondering how things will go for the dog.’
    • ‘I'm currently waiting for so much stuff, the suspense is killing me.’
    • ‘Technically it's presented as a question though the audience experiences no real suspense about the outcome.’
    • ‘You wait in suspense to hear how each sentence will end.’
    • ‘Clearly, there was plenty of suspense built into this year's player rankings.’
    • ‘The suspense was killing me, even though I knew what he would say.’
    • ‘Although the special effects are fairly impressive, De Palma fails to generate any real suspense.’
    • ‘Until then, you'll just have to live in suspense.’
    • ‘There's another 4 days left on that and the suspense is killing me!’
    • ‘The film builds suspense in a skillfully organic manner, then never pays off.’
    eagerly, agog, all agog, with bated breath, on tenterhooks, avid, excited, on edge, open-mouthed, anxious, edgy, jittery, jumpy, keyed up, overwrought, uneasy, worried
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    1. 1.1 A quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty about what may happen.
      ‘a tale of mystery and suspense’
      as modifier ‘a suspense novel’
      • ‘I let out a heavy sigh and thought hard for a few seconds, unable to register anything except comic books and fiction suspense novels.’
      • ‘It's the only brand of suspense I know in fiction that is so palpable, you can feel it on your skin.’
      • ‘As a suspense film in the Hitchcock vein, yeah, it's wonderful.’
      • ‘Well, this is the real world, not the world of action films and suspense novels, and yet the same principle is at work here as it is in the world of fiction.’
      • ‘The mixed metaphor is unfortunate, but his story line sounds promising and adds suspense.’
      • ‘Finishing it, I knew it had to be the greatest suspense novel ever written.’
      • ‘There was genuine suspense, and that just makes it a great story.’
      • ‘Even though it's riddled with melodrama, this is still a high quality internal affairs suspense thriller.’
      • ‘Promise me a monster suspense film and it ends up being a third-rate Scooby-Doo episode.’
      • ‘It was devoid of terror, suspense, originality or quality.’
      • ‘Yes, the movie goes for short-term thrills instead of building suspense.’
      • ‘Eight years later his 16th novel marked a change of genre, to suspense thriller.’
      • ‘Directors of horror and suspense films would be wise to check out Koi Kaze.’
      • ‘Much of the plot in bare-bones form would make a nifty suspense thriller.’
      • ‘There just doesn't seem to be any real suspense in romantic comedies any more.’
      • ‘Finally, he took a year's leave of absence, so great was his need to finish writing his first suspense novel.’
      • ‘In a claustrophobic suspense story, you could see how this might come in handy.’
      • ‘The book has moments of great seriousness, and even some genuine suspense.’
      • ‘The mystery of these implicit questions heightens the novel's suspense.’
      • ‘If you like well written and interesting suspense movies, this movie is worth a shot.’
      tension, uncertainty, doubt, doubtfulness, anticipation, expectation, expectancy, excitement, anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, strain
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  • 2Law
    The temporary cessation or suspension of something.

    • ‘The Applicant has set in motion an appeal from the disciplinary panel to an appeal panel but that appeal has been put into suspense by reason of his application for judicial review.’
    suspension, a state of suspension, a state of dormancy, a state of latency, a state of uncertainty, remission, reserve
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Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French suspens ‘abeyance’, based on Latin suspensus ‘suspended, hovering, doubtful’, past participle of suspendere (see suspend).

Pronunciation

suspense

/səˈspɛns//səˈspens/