from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To bar for a period from a privilege, office, or position, usually as a punishment.
  • intransitive verb To cause to stop for a period; interrupt.
  • intransitive verb To hold in abeyance; defer: synonym: defer.
  • intransitive verb To render temporarily ineffective.
  • intransitive verb Music To hold or prolong (a note or notes) in suspension.
  • intransitive verb To hang so as to allow free movement.
  • intransitive verb To support or keep from falling without apparent attachment, as by buoyancy.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To disperse or put (particles, for example) in suspension.
  • intransitive verb To cease for a period; delay.
  • intransitive verb To fail to make payments or meet obligations.
  • idiom (suspend disbelief) To accept as plausible something one knows to be untrue, especially the setting and plot of a drama or fiction so as to allow the appreciation of art.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cause to hang; make to depend from anything; hang: as, to suspend a ball by a thread; hence, to hold, or keep from falling or sinking, as if by hanging: as, solid particles suspended in a liquid.
  • To make to depend (on).
  • To cause to cease for a time; hinder from proceeding; interrupt; stay; delay: as, all business was suspended.
  • To hold undetermined; refrain from forming or concluding definitely: as, to suspend one's opinion.
  • To debar, usually for a time, from any privilege, from the execution of an office, or from the enjoyment of income: as, a student suspended for some breach of discipline (rarely, in this use, suspended from college).
  • To cause to cease for a time from operation or effect: as, to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act; to suspend the rules of a deliberative assembly.
  • In music, to hold back or postpone the progression of (a voice-part) while the other parts proceed, usually producing a temporary discord. See suspension, 5.
  • To cease from operation; desist from active employment; specifically, to stop payment, or be unable to meet one's engagements.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To cease from operation or activity; esp., to stop payment, or be unable to meet obligations or engagements (said of a commercial firm or a bank).
  • transitive verb To attach to something above; to hang.
  • transitive verb Archaic To make to depend.
  • transitive verb To cause to cease for a time; to hinder from proceeding; to interrupt; to delay; to stay.
  • transitive verb To hold in an undetermined or undecided state.
  • transitive verb To debar, or cause to withdraw temporarily, from any privilege, from the execution of an office, from the enjoyment of income, etc.
  • transitive verb To cause to cease for a time from operation or effect
  • transitive verb (Chem.) To support in a liquid, as an insoluble powder, by stirring, to facilitate chemical action.
  • transitive verb (Com.) to cease paying debts or obligations; to fail; -- said of a merchant, a bank, etc.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To halt something temporarily
  • verb To hang freely; underhang
  • verb To bring a solid substance, usually in powder form, into suspension in a liquid
  • verb To discontinue or interrupt a function, task, position, or event.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make inoperative or stop
  • verb render temporarily ineffective
  • verb hang freely
  • verb bar temporarily; from school, office, etc.
  • verb cause to be held in suspension in a fluid
  • verb stop a process or a habit by imposing a freeze on it


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English suspenden, from Old French suspendre, from Latin suspendere : sub-, from below; see sub– + pendere, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word suspend.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.