May 30, 2013
- suspense (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : the state of being suspended : suspension2 a : mental uncertainty : anxiety b : pleasant excitement caused by wondering what will happen3 : the state of being undecided
- How do you use it?
- "He covered his head with the bedclothes and waited in a horror of suspense for his doom; for he had not the shadow of a doubt that all this hubbub was about him." (Mark Twain, _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_)
- Are you a word wiz?
Which word do you think comes from the same root as "suspense"?The Latin root word "pendere" means "to hang" and both "suspense" and "pendant" stem from it. Members of the "pendere" family often have something to with hanging. A "pendant" is something that hangs down, like an ornament on a necklace. If something is "pendulous" it hangs so as to swing freely. If you wear "suspenders" your pants hang from them so they don't fall down. Unlike those terms, the "hanging" that relates to "suspense" is not literal. But when something keeps you in "suspense," it can feel like you've been left hanging, waiting for something to happen.