Definition of suspicion in US English:



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

    ‘she had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at her’
    • ‘The celebrity's presence alleviates the suspicion that the protagonists are doomed.’
    • ‘Audiences at home and abroad began to voice disappointment, some even expressing the suspicion that plans had gone seriously awry.’
    • ‘Is her suspicion that all humans are capable of evil true?’
    • ‘The suspicion that the virus is new appears to be well grounded.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The strong suspicion arises from the following facts.’
    • ‘I have the strong suspicion that 2005 in retrospect will look like a pivotal year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For my part I have a sneaking suspicion that they have narcotics stashed into the software, for it simply is irresistible.’
    • ‘Clinical suspicion is aroused early in patients who are under regular medical supervision, leading to earlier diagnosis.’
    • ‘Everyone has a sneaking suspicion there's something really fantastic, exciting, and breathtaking about life.’
    • ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that this guy had something to do with it.’
    • ‘Benji had a creeping suspicion that this would be the answer to his question.’
    • ‘Will's face was a picture of incredulous disbelief haunted by a suspicion that some of it could be true.’
    • ‘I was left with a suspicion that the majority shared the anti-military animus of the plaintiffs.’
    • ‘The forensic results recently released by the Dutch authorities have served to confirm a nagging suspicion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This initial scepticism was compounded by the suspicion that infections might actually provoke allergy.’
    • ‘That's unfortunate, because I have a sneaking suspicion that Clinton has some important and interesting things to say in his book.’
    • ‘However, we all want to know if our sneaking suspicions are true.’
    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’
      ‘he was arrested on suspicion of murder’
      • ‘Instead, it will reinforce suspicions of an official cover-up.’
      • ‘The Canadian police doubted he was a genuine amnesiac and held him on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.’
      • ‘Foreigners, upon whom such suspicions fall, will be deported with immediate effect.’
      • ‘A 39-year-old man was arrested at about 10.30 pm on suspicion of assault.’
      • ‘The five have been detained by police since late last year on suspicions of illegal separatist activities in the troubled province.’
      • ‘In the Warminster area three people were also arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.’
      • ‘They have maintained that the evidence gathered raised strong suspicions.’
      • ‘Surrey police said both men were arrested on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Those arrested are being questioned on suspicion of drug dealing, handling stolen goods and possessing illegal weapons.’
      • ‘A fifth man was also arrested on suspicion of involvement even though he was not at the scene on Thursday.’
      • ‘A 23-year-old local man has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.’
      • ‘If nothing else, it might have quelled the widespread suspicion that the incident had been covered up.’
      • ‘Two male employers were arrested on suspicion of employing illegal workers.’
      • ‘Most of the detainees have been arrested on suspicion of illegal stay.’
      • ‘His suspicions arose, and he wondered what she was up to.’
      • ‘Between 1984 and 1990, he had been arrested 4 times on suspicion of militant involvement.’
      • ‘I don't want to arouse any suspicions on the part of our enemy.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Cautious distrust.

    ‘her activities were regarded with suspicion by the headmistress’
    • ‘On the other hand, there was suspicion, distrust, and hatred.’
    • ‘A little bit of paranoia may keep us on our toes, but a constant state of suspicion and distrust is pathological.’
    • ‘It leads to a climate of resentment, division, distrust, suspicion, and even paranoia.’
    • ‘This bill unfortunately panders to a culture of distrust and suspicion found among a minority of employers.’
    • ‘Eventually, the children may come to regard their fathers with suspicion and distrust.’
    • ‘Wrong perceptions result in a lot of anger, mistrust, suspicion, hate and terrorism.’
    • ‘Rather than eroding barriers between communities, a Berlin wall of suspicion, mistrust and hatred has been erected.’
    • ‘There's an air of suspicion and distrust about that permeates all walks and all levels of life, great and small.’
    • ‘He also learned that tweens are apt to regard big marketing blitzes with suspicion and distrust.’
    • ‘Property owners tend to view drifters with suspicion, and distrust their lack of stability.’
    • ‘An atmosphere of suspicion and distrust, unfortunately, still prevails.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the whole, the legal system has not been entirely overhauled and this has generated suspicion and distrust on the part of investors.’
    • ‘There were heavily armed security forces on every street corner and there was a great deal of distrust and suspicion.’
    • ‘It nurtures suspicion and distrust of politicians, and politics itself.’
    • ‘We're in a period when people have lots of suspicion and distrust about journalism.’
    • ‘These volatile people will in my opinion look upon us with suspicion and distrust for years to come.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Back in the brave old days of 1953, there were no avocados, no kiwi fruit, and not a suspicion of mozzarella and tomato pizza.’
    • ‘It shows no great sense of sportsmanship, but rather invokes a suspicion of envy of some kind.’
    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.’
      • ‘This is the UN's responsibility, he said, adding that NATO's reputation and credibility in the region is not above suspicion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A significant proportion of the surface measurements are therefore suspect, while the atmospheric measurements are above suspicion and reliable.’
      • ‘The Republicans adopted the now-obsolete rule in 1993 as part of a campaign to portray themselves as ethically 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.’
      • ‘She said her husband's patriotism was above suspicion.’
      • ‘‘The court dismissed any suggestion that the manner of discovery of this exhibit was not above suspicion,’ they said.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

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


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’).