AskDefine | Define suspect

Dictionary Definition

suspect adj : not as expected; "there was something fishy about the accident"; "up to some funny business"; "some definitely queer goings-on"; "a shady deal"; "her motives were suspect"; "suspicious behavior" [syn: fishy, funny, queer, shady, suspicious]


1 someone who is under suspicion
2 a person or institution against whom an action is brought in a court of law; the person being sued or accused [syn: defendant] [ant: plaintiff]


1 imagine to be the case or true or probable; "I suspect he is a fugitive"; "I surmised that the butler did it" [syn: surmise]
2 regard as untrustworthy; regard with suspicion; have no faith or confidence in [syn: distrust, mistrust] [ant: trust, trust]
3 hold in suspicion; believe to be guilty; "The U.S. suspected Bin Laden as the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks"

User Contributed Dictionary



suspectus, perfect passive participle of suspicere, from sus-, combining form of sub, under, + spicere, to appear.


  • Verb:
    • səspĕkt', /səsˈpɛkt/, /s@s"pEkt/
  • Noun and adjective:
    • sŭs'pĕkt, /ˈsʌspɛkt/, /"sVspEkt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt


  1. To imagine or suppose (something) to be true without evidence.
    I suspect his theory.
  2. To distrust or have doubts about (something or someone).
    I suspect him of lying.
  3. To believe (someone) to be guilty without proof.
    If you asked me who the thief is, I would suspect him.
  4. To have suspicion.


imagine or suppose to be true without evidence
distrust, have doubts about
believe to be guilty
have suspicion


  1. A person who is suspected of something, in particular of committing a crime.
    Round up the usual suspects. — Casablanca


a person who is suspected of something


  1. To be viewed with suspicion.
    The figures in these accounts look suspect — I think someone has been cooking the books.



to be viewed with suspicion



  1. suspicious (arousing suspicion)

Extensive Definition

In the parlance of criminal justice, a suspect is a known person suspected of committing a crime.
Police and reporters often incorrectly use the word the suspect when referring to the actor, or perpetrator of the offense (perp for short). The perpetrator is the robber, assailant, counterfeiter, etc.--the person who actually committed the crime. The distinction between suspect and perpetrator recognizes that the suspect has not been proven guilty. The suspect may be a different person from the perpetrator, or there may have been no actual crime.
A common error in police reports is a witness description of the suspect (no, the witness generally describes the perpetrator, but the mug shot is of the suspect). Frequently it is stated that police are looking for the suspect, when there is no suspect; very often it is impossible to tell from such a police report whether there is a suspect or not.
Possibly because of the misuse of suspect to mean perpetrator, police have begun to use person of interest to mean suspect.
Under the judicial systems of the U.S., once a decision is approved to arrest the suspect or bind him over for trial, either by a prosecutor issuing an information, a grand jury issuing a true bill or indictment, or a judge issuing an arrest warrant, the suspect can then be properly called a defendant, or the accused. Only after being convicted is the suspect properly called the perpetrator.

See also


suspect in Estonian: Kahtlustatav
suspect in Indonesian: Tersangka
suspect in Dutch: Verdachte
suspect in Japanese: 被疑者
suspect in Polish: Podejrzany
suspect in Portuguese: Argiudo
suspect in Russian: Подозреваемый
suspect in Simple English: Suspect
suspect in Chinese: 犯罪嫌疑人

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a bit thick, a bit thin, absurd, account as, accused, arguable, assume, at issue, awake a doubt, be afraid, be diffident, be doubtful, be dubious, be possessive, be skeptical, be uncertain, believe, beyond belief, call in question, challenge, conceive, conclude, confutable, conjectural, consider, contest, contestable, contested, controversial, controvertible, correspondent, daresay, debatable, deduce, deem, defendant, deniable, disbelieve, disbelieved, discredited, disputable, dispute, disputed, distrust, divine, doubt, doubtable, doubted, doubtful, dream, dubious, dubitable, esteem, estimate, expect, exploded, fancy, feel, gather, grant, greet with skepticism, guess, half believe, harbor suspicions, hard of belief, hard to believe, have a feeling, have a hunch, have an idea, have an impression, have an inkling, have reservations, have the idea, hold, hold as, iffy, imagine, implausible, in dispute, in doubt, in dubio, in question, inconceivable, incredible, infer, judge, let, let be, libelee, look upon as, maintain, misdoubt, misgive, mistakable, mistrust, mistrusted, moot, not deserving belief, open, open to doubt, open to question, open to suspicion, opine, passing belief, prefigure, preposterous, presume, presuppose, presurmise, prisoner, problematic, provisionally accept, query, question, questionable, questioned, raise a question, reckon, refutable, regard, repute, respondent, ridiculous, say, scruple, sense, set down as, shadowy, shady, shaky, smell a rat, speculative, staggering belief, suppose, suppositional, surmise, suspected, suspicion, suspicious, take, take for, take for granted, take it, take to be, tall, theorize, thick, thin, think, throw doubt upon, treat with reserve, trow, unbelievable, uncertain, unclear, unconvincing, under a cloud, under suspicion, understand, unearthly, ungodly, unimaginable, unthinkable, unworthy of belief, view as, ween
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