I referenced https://english.stackexchange.com/a/22445/50720 but it doesn't apply for these nouns?

suasion = [mass noun] formal
Persuasion as opposed to force or compulsion:

I also tried http://thecommonparlance.blogspot.com/2007/10/suasion-v-persuasion.html and http://sprachgefuhl.blogspot.com/2011/06/suasion-persuasion.html but these look tentative.

  • Are you looking for a more convincing explanation of the difference between the two?
    – user66974
    Jun 27, 2014 at 8:13
  • 2
    I've most often encountered it in the collocation moral suasion. It's not a word that is in very common use.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jun 27, 2014 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


The most appealing would-be explanation of the difference appears in one of the comments made in response to the posting under your third link:

Suasion is the deployment of rhetorical means for the sake of moving the audience to the rhetor's position. Persuasion is the effect or result of successful suasion on that audience. One can thus suade an audience yet fail to persuade.

(Though note that here the verb 'suade' seems to have been included as a nonce word, as it is otherwise obsolete; Noah Webster said so as far back as 1828.)

All this being said, I haven't found any evidence for the distinction made above in any of the dictionaries I have so far consulted, which all essentially describe both suasion and persuasion as "the act of influencing or persuading".

  • OED says of the verb suade that it's "now rare or dialectal". They don't actually say that for suasion, but the most recent of a couple of dozen citations is 1885. Draw your own conclusions. Jun 27, 2014 at 13:28
  • This usage at least complies with the emphasis on effort over results: "Once the world would have hoped that American diplomacy, engagement and suasion would have kept such risks [of cascading nuclear weapons proliferation] in check, and over the coming few years they might. But America’s centrality is on the wane." -- The Economist, 30 Jan 2021
    – Bob Stein
    Feb 3, 2021 at 13:57

Sausion contrasted with persuasion.

Persuade could include a wide range of actions to bring an audience to a desired conclusion. While illegal threats are usually not included, hints at adverse consequences of disagreement could be implied.

Suasion is limited to appeals to reason, morals or rational principles. I used this term in a published letter on what Earl Warren did to gain a unanimous vote on Brown v. Board of Education. IE: One party in congress persuades the other, but in the Supreme court one uses suasion.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Thanks for your answer. Please consider making it more authoritative by adding references. Feb 18, 2018 at 5:08

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