Suss Out: How to Use the Interesting Idiom “Suss Out” Correctly?

Last Updated on March 21, 2020

The phrase “suss out” is considered a form of slang that is used in conversation. Often people who don’t speak English as their first language hear or see this phrase and wonder what it means because “suss” is a word that is not encountered often. If you have wandered to this page wondering what this phrase means, then you are in luck. The meaning of this slang phrase can be found here, along with the phrase’s origin, some example sentences and conversations, and some alternative ways to say the same thing in conversation.

Suss Out

Suss Out Meaning

The phrase “suss out” is a form of slang used in America to mean that you have investigated thoroughly to figure out everything there is to know about someone or something. It can also mean that you have worked something out or made a final determination about something.

Origin of this idiomatic term

The phrase “suss out” is believed to have come from the British slang term “sus.” “Sus” was used as an abbreviated way to say “suspect” or “suspected.” The term was first heard in Britain in the early 1950s and first appeared in America on the channel BBC in the 1970s. The first time the phrase was heard in America was not until 1990.

“Suss Out” Examples

Example Sentences

  • Before cops can accuse someone of a crime, they first need to suss out who did it.
  • When it comes to determining which one of my kids did something bad, I first have to talk to them eye-to-eye and suss out all the information.
  • I’d had the training to suss out what he was up to.
  • If you want to succeed in business you have to suss out the competition.
  • It’s a really good way to keep an eye on other sprinters and suss out the competition.

Example Conversations

A discussion between father and son.

  • Son: Dad, I need some advice.
  • Father: Okay, I will try to help.
  • Son: Donna told me that Victor hit on her. I went to Victor and he told me that Donna lied. She was the one that hit on him. I need to suss out the truth because Donna is my girlfriend and Victor is my best friend.
  • Father: I can see your dilemma. You need to sit down and have a heart to heart with them both. Then take time to analyze the information before making a decision. Your gut will tell you the truth, so believe in it.

A discussion between two co-workers.

  • Co-worker 1: We need to suss out the culprit who is stealing people’s lunches from the refrigerator.
  • Co-worker 2: We can install a camera in the break room. That would help.

Alternatives to “Suss Out”

There are several words or phrases that you can use to replace the phrase “suss out” in conversation. Some of the alternatives you could use include:

  • Figure out
  • Determine
  • Work out

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