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My coworker says things like

I suspicion that it happened the other day when nobody was here.

I would say

I suspect it happened

or

I have a suspicion that it happened.

What my coworker says sounds wrong to me. Is it common usage anywhere?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Daniel, kiamlaluno, Will Hunting, Mitch Mar 18 '12 at 21:55

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
It sounds wrong to me too... –  Phonics The Hedgehog Mar 14 '12 at 5:18
    
"I'm suspicious that it happened the other day..." comes to my mind. –  Michael Durrant Mar 14 '12 at 6:52
    
It is non-standard and most native speakers will think you're making a mistake. –  David Schwartz Mar 14 '12 at 15:34
    
I agree (being a native speaker) and some dictionaries list it and some don't. –  Jim Mar 14 '12 at 17:19
2  
Folks, stop with the voting to close as general reference! Clearly, this is a case where general usage disagrees with information found in the dictionary. –  Marthaª Mar 15 '12 at 17:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I’ve never heard or read it used as such, but the OED has an entry for ‘suspicion’ as a verb, with supporting citations from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Those cited include authors as diverse as John Buchan, C S Forester, Samuel Beckett, Rudyard Kipling and Carson McCullers.

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So I think we all agree that this is not in current use even though it does appear in some dictionaries. Do any of them list it as deprecated or antiquated or similar? –  Jim Mar 14 '12 at 17:22
    
Mark Twain uses suspicion as a verb multiple times in his dialogue in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." –  JLG Mar 15 '12 at 19:28

Of course I suspicion sounds wrong. If we take as read that suspicion is a verb meaning suspect, then I suspicion is ungrammatical because suspect requires an object, so suspicion requires an object too.

You cannot just suspect, you must suspect something, much like you can't just hate, you must hate something. So you must suspicion something.

That said, despite suspicion being cited as a verb, I have not heard it and I would not use it as such.

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I think you've missed my point, my examples do contain objects: "I suspicion that it happened the other day when nobody was here" Your last sentence is apropos though. And I am in agreement with you there. –  Jim Mar 14 '12 at 17:26
    
@Jim you said - "I suspicion" sounds wrong to me. This is what I'm explaining. As a stand alone utterance it is wrong. –  Matt Эллен Mar 14 '12 at 18:06
    
Ok, what I meant was "I suspicion ..." as the beginning of a setence as demonstrated by my examples. –  Jim Mar 14 '12 at 18:53

I don't recall ever hearing "suspicion" used as a verb. The conventional verb form is "suspect". I see thefreedictionary.com lists it as a "nonstandard verb". But that's a very rare usage.

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Sure. Dictionaries cite it back to 1861, and it's still in use.

According to this Google ngram
it seems to be rising in popularity since the last years of last century, though Google ngrams are not the best indicator of, well, anything.

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Looking at the actual results 1970-2000 from your chart, I find there are less than a couple of dozen separate valid instances (plus duplicates, OCR misreadings of 1/a, etc.), and several of those seem to be quoting older text. I suspect the form doesn't exist today except among non-native speakers and perhaps a few dialectal hangovers. –  FumbleFingers Mar 14 '12 at 5:37
    
...going for another form, We suspicion that gets 19 hits in the past 60 years, as opposed to over 200,000 for We suspect that. Sorry, but I'm gonna have to downvote this. Suspicion is not meaningfully a verb. –  FumbleFingers Mar 14 '12 at 5:43

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