General English


  • adjective referring to something believed to be causing problems


  • noun somebody whom the police think has committed a crime
  • verb to believe that something is the case


  • noun any individual taken from a database of prospective customers


  • noun a person who doctors believe may have a disease
  • verb to think that someone may have a disease

Origin & History of “suspect”

Latin suspicere originally meant literally ‘look up at’ (it was a compound verb formed from the prefix sub- ‘up from under’ and specere ‘look at’, source of English spectator, spy, etc). It evolved metaphorically along two lines: ‘look up to, admire’, which has since died out, and ‘look at secretly’, hence ‘look at distrustfully’, which has passed into English in the form of its past participial stem suspect-. Suspicion (14th c.) comes from the medieval Latin derivative suspectiō.