What Does “Sus” Mean & How Did it Become Popular? [2024]

Key Takeaways
  • "Sus" is short for "suspect" or "suspicious" and can describe something or someone that feels untrustworthy or unsettling. It has been used since the 19th century but gained popularity in the 2020 game "Among Us."
  • The term "sus" became widely popular through the game "Among Us," where players use it to describe potentially deceptive behavior. This usage spread to memes and general internet slang.
  • "Sus" can be used in various contexts to describe untrustworthy people, suspicious behavior, sketchy individuals, or unsettling situations. It has become a common part of modern internet language.

The Internet has given us more clothes in our linguistic wardrobe than ever. Whether it’s being forced to fit all your creative thoughts into 140 characters when posting a tweet or the popular all-caps and no-punctuation style on Tumblr, people have found new ways to communicate in these modern times. From acronyms to emojis, internet slang has been changing the English language as a whole.

One such phenomenon is the word “sus” which has been a big part of the meme culture for years now. In this article, we will dive into the meaning behind sus and its other interesting stories. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Suspect OR Suspicious

The Meaning and Origin Behind Sus

Sus is short for “suspect” or “suspicious” and depending on the context can mean either one of the two both at once. The word is used to define something or someone that doesn’t feel right or in others feels a bit off. Whether you want to directly refer to someone who seems untrustworthy or describe a scenario that feels skeptical, sus can be used as both a noun and an adjective.

While sus has recently dominated social media, its has been surfacing long before the Internet. Back in 1842, “Sus law” was a nickname for a stop-and-search law that gave British law enforcement the authority to stop and search individuals that they found suspicious. In the 1930s, sus made its way into cop slang and was used as “suss out” to describe the discovery of crucial evidence or information.

The dark side behind the Sus law

However, the form of sus we know today was first used in August 2003 on the online slang repository Urban Dictionary by a user named Diego who gave us possibly the first look into what the term means.

READ MORE: What Does IDGI Mean and How Do You Use It in 2024? ➜

From an unknown party game to surpassing 3 million players, Among Us was one of the most successful video games of 2020. Just like Werewolf and Mafia, Among Us follows a similar concept where the game randomly assigns players the role of either a Crewmate or the Imposter. The job of the crewmates is to complete a set of tasks while figuring out who between them is trying to murder us all.

But how did a party-game make the term sus so popular? Well, a big reason for the game’s success was the many Twitch streamers who would broadcast themselves running around the spaceship for hours. And they brought the word “sus” along the ride. Sus became the central catchphrase of the game and soon players started to call other crewmates sus if they seemed like imposters.

Among Us sus memes

The term started to make its way to memes and shortly after that was pretty much all over the Internet. People started using the term outside of Among Us and it became a common part of the “Internet speak“. Fast forward to today where kids also use sus to point out something that feels uncomfortable, dodgy, or as they say “cringe“.

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How To Use Sus Properly?

Different ways to use sus

Now that you know the meaning behind Sus and what made it so popular, now’s the time to add it to your Internet lingo. When using Sus, you can substitute it wherever you would say “suspicious” or “suspect”. Apart from that here are a few different scenarios where Sus fits just right in.

1. Describing Someone as Untrustworthy

  • Person 1: “Let’s share our project plans with Tom.”
  • Person 2: “I don’t know about that; he gives off sus vibes.”

2. Describing Suspicious Behavior or Lying

  • Person 1: “Why do you think she’s avoiding answering our questions?”
  • Person 2: “Her responses seem sus. I think she might be hiding something.”

3. Describing Someone Sketchy or Unlikeable

  • Person 1: “Why aren’t we including Kevin in our group?”
  • Person 2: “I don’t trust him. He’s just too sus for me.”

4. Referring to Something Unsettling

  • Person 1: “I found a hidden room in the basement.”
  • Person 2: “That’s sus as heck. We need to investigate it ASAP.”

READ MORE: What Does Based Mean? The Origins & How to Use it Today ➜

From Gaming Lingo to Everyday Slang

Despite what the Internet grammar police might say, the use of slang words like sus is becoming prominent on social media, especially for the young audience. Whether it’s sus, GG, or LOL, it is pretty evident how video games like Among Us or memes like That’s Sus can influence our way of communication. And for those who aren’t keeping up with this change, that’s kinda sus bro.


What does Cringe mean?

Cringe is the go-to term for content or behavior people see as painfully embarrassing, awkward, or downright uncomfortable. People often apply it to posts, videos, or comments that provoke second-hand embarrassment or just make viewers feel uneasy, either because of the content itself or how someone presents it.

What are some popular gaming slang terms?

In gaming circles there are several slang which includes, “GG” signifying sportsmanship, while “noob” is a term for inexperienced players. “OP” denotes something excessively powerful, and “nerf” refers to balancing adjustments in updates.

What is the Urban Dictionary?

Urban Dictionary is an online crowdsourced dictionary that focuses on slang words, phrases, and cultural expressions not typically found in traditional dictionaries. Users can submit definitions for words or phrases, and other users can vote on those submissions. It’s known for its informal, often humorous, and sometimes irreverent approach to language.


Hamid Murtaza

Whether it’s troubleshooting technical issues or breaking down the Internet culture, Hamid is there to make it simple for his readers. With a deep passion for writing, Hamid loves to explore different ways to convey ideas using his words. When not problem-solving, you can find him making streaks on Duolingo.