"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[v. suh-spekt; n. suhs-pekt; adj. suhs-pekt, suh-spekt] /v. səˈspɛkt; n. ˈsʌs pɛkt; adj. ˈsʌs pɛkt, səˈspɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to believe to be guilty, false, counterfeit, undesirable, defective, bad, etc., with little or no proof:
to suspect a person of murder.
to doubt or mistrust:
I suspect his motives.
to believe to be the case or to be likely or probable; surmise:
I suspect his knowledge did not amount to much.
to have some hint or foreknowledge of:
I think she suspected the surprise.
verb (used without object)
to believe something, especially something evil or wrong, to be the case; have suspicion.
a person who is suspected, especially one suspected of a crime, offense, or the like.
suspected; open to or under suspicion.
Origin of suspect
1250-1300; Middle English (adj.) < Latin suspectāre, equivalent to su- su- + spectāre, frequentative of specere to look at
Related forms
suspectible, adjective
nonsuspect, noun, adjective
presuspect, verb (used with object)
unsuspecting, adjective
unsuspectingly, adverb
3. guess, conjecture, suppose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unsuspecting
  • Some predators take on the appearance of harmless animals or flowers to surprise unsuspecting prey.
  • But that there were ways to dramatize this to an unsuspecting world was the keenness of my understanding.
  • Serve side-by-side to an unsuspecting friend, and get their reaction.
  • Two more unsuspecting adults infected with the joy of crawling through a cardboard fort with a band of life-size puppets.
  • In one experiment, he had unsuspecting subjects eat soup from bowls that continually refilled from the bottom.
  • On reaching gently sloping coastlines the tsunami slowed down, shoaled and rose many meters to descend on unsuspecting humans.
  • The spider uses this disguise to hide in plain day and pick off unsuspecting ants who venture too close.
  • Nuclear reactors are so expensive to run that they are subsidised by selling some electricity to unsuspecting taxpayers.
  • Lurking in these holes, the ants grab the legs and antennae of unsuspecting insects.
  • Deep beneath an ancient ocean, a flatworm stalked its unsuspecting prey.
British Dictionary definitions for unsuspecting


disposed to trust; not suspicious; trusting
Derived Forms
unsuspectingly, adverb


verb (səˈspɛkt)
(transitive) to believe guilty of a specified offence without proof
(transitive) to think false, questionable, etc: she suspected his sincerity
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to surmise to be the case; think probable: to suspect fraud
(intransitive) to have suspicion
noun (ˈsʌspɛkt)
a person who is under suspicion
adjective (ˈsʌspɛkt)
causing or open to suspicion
Derived Forms
suspecter, noun
suspectless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin suspicere to mistrust, from sub- + specere to look
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for unsuspecting

1590s, from un- (1) "not" + present participle of suspect (v.).



mid-14c., from Old French suspect "suspicious," from Latin suspectus "suspected, suspicious," past participle of suspicere "look up at, mistrust, suspect," from sub "up to" + specere "to look at" (see scope (n.1)). The notion is of "look at secretly," hence, "look at distrustfully." The verb is attested from late 15c.; the noun meaning "a suspected person" is first recorded 1590s. Related: Suspected; suspecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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