Mental uncertainty or anxiety.

Also, the (hopefully) pleasant feeling of excitement as to a decision or outcome. Often used in refering to suspense novels and films. Alfred Hitchcock is considered the master of suspense, because he could draw a suspenseful moment out longer -- and with a better payoff -- than any other film director. Need examples? Rent "Psycho," "Vertigo," or "North by Northwest."

Sus*pense" (?), a. [F. suspens, L. suspensus, p.p. of suspendere. See Suspend.]


Held or lifted up; held or prevented from proceeding.


[The great light of day] suspense in heaven. Milton.


Expressing, or proceeding from, suspense or doubt.

[Obs.] "Expectation held his look suspense."



© Webster 1913.

Sus*pense", n. [From F. suspens, a. See Suspense, a.]


The state of being suspended; specifically, a state of uncertainty and expectation, with anxiety or apprehension; indetermination; indecision; as, the suspense of a person waiting for the verdict of a jury.

Ten days the prophet in suspense remained. Denham.

Upon the ticklish balance of suspense. Cowper.


Cessation for a time; stop; pause.

A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain. Pope.

3. [Cf. F. suspense.] Law

A temporary cessation of one's right; suspension, as when the rent or other profits of land cease by unity of possession of land and rent.

Suspense account Bookkeeping, an account in which receipts or disbursements are temporarily entered until their proper position in the books is determined.


© Webster 1913.

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