What Does Sus Mean In 'Among Us'? The Slang Meaning & How To Use It

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Self

Social media is awash with countless slang words and acronyms that change and develop quicker than most of us can keep up with. And these words aren’t just used in comments sections on social media — in fact, it has become a staple in the online multiplayer game, Among Us, as well as on TikTok.

But with words like sus seeping into our real-life vocabulary, it’s important to know exactly what they mean in order to communicate with others.

What does sus mean?

Sus is derived from two words: suspect and suspicious. Depending on the context, the word sus can mean either of those two words interchangeably or just mean both of them at the same time. 

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Used in texting and everyday speech, sus can be either a noun or an adjective. This means it can both describe a person or situation, or be used to refer directly to that person. For example: “She’s sus” or “He’s acting sus.”

A "sus" person is someone who appears "off" in some way, has questionable intentions, or lacks integrity.

It can also be used to describe a suspicious scenario without directly accusing anyone: “That’s sus.” It denotes untrustworthiness or doubt and is used by skeptics in a wide variety of contexts.

While you might see it as a response to a wide range of scenarios, the people using it are really only saying one thing: “I think you’re 100 percent guilty of something, but I don’t have actual evidence so I can’t outright accuse you.”

Is sus a bad word? While no one wants to be labeled "sus," the term itself isn't considered profanity. So go ahead and use it next time something fishy happens.

If you're the one being accused of acting sus, consider following the approach of Mona-Lisa and Jean-Ralphio from "Parks and Recreation." Subtlety is king here:

Where did sus come from?

Like all good internet slang, sus seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, and overnight everyone was saying it without actually knowing why.

It may be new to a lot of us, but it was actually first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003. It has also been used in a slightly different way overseas for almost a century!

Historically, it was used in Great Britain to refer to a stop and search law nicknamed "sus law," which allowed arrests on the basis of mere suspicion. In the 1930s, people in England and Wales began using the phrase "suss out" to describe the act of discovering evidence or secrets.

While it is no longer a part of British police jargon, the verb "suss" with two S's is still used in the U.K. today. 

But "sus" as we know it wasn't imported by English tourists. Like most American slang, it was popularized by Black communities. 

Unlike some of the more confusing recent slang words (seriously, what is a Heather?), it has a straightforward definition.

Given that sus is taken from an actual word in the dictionary, it’s easy to interpret its meaning when used in an appropriate context. This probably contributed to its popularity.

But really, we can thank TikTok for the word sus. Considering most of us spent 2020 indoors either baking banana bread or scrolling through TikTok, it’s no wonder the video-sharing app is responsible for most trends.

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What does sus mean on TikTok?

Sus seems to appear a lot on the app when users are skeptical of a viral “storytime” video, or are questioning the behavior of some of their favorite creators.

The word has also appeared in many of the popular sounds that TikTokers love to lipsync along with. The viral song “Hatchback” by rapper Cochise also had a role to play in making sus one of the most used words on the app.

As the lyrics go: “Who he with? / Not with us, us, us / That boy, uh, that boy, uh / That boy sus,” describing a questionable character, Cochise goes on to say, “I don’t trust.” When the song became a popular dance track for TikTokers, the word sus was cemented even further into our vocabulary.

What does sus mean in Among Us?

More recently, players of the game Among Us have no doubt seen the word sus or used it themselves.

The game, which was first released in 2018, has hit a second wave of popularity over the last year. In this online multiplayer game, players are working together in a space-themed setting.

In any round of the game, users are assigned roles as either Crewmates or Imposters. Imposters seek to kill of Crewmates without being caught, while the remaining Crewmates must determine who the Imposter is.

And how do Crewmates guess the Imposter? By looking for — you guessed it — anything or anyone that could be seen as "sus."

The Crewmates are assigned tasks and must try to complete these while avoiding being killed by the Imposter. The Imposter must fake tasks, sabotage the space ship and sneak up on unsuspecting Crewmates.

Sus behavior in the game might include not doing any tasks, following other players around, or running away from bodies instead of reporting them to the group.

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The game moves quickly and Crewmates have limited time to consult with one another via the in-game chat. Who has time to type an entire word when under pressure?

Sus has also become a much more efficient way to accuse other players of being the Imposter. Players are assigned a color to make it easier to declare who is "acting sus." The players then vote on their suspects, hoping to eject the Imposter from the game.

How to Use Sus in Text Messages

So, you’ve figured out what the word means and you know why everyone is saying it. What else is there?

Well, before you go storming through TikTok comment sections or make outlandish accusations during a game of Among Us, you might want to know how to use the term correctly. Somehow, grammatical rules still apply to made-up internet words.

Here are potential ways sus can be used as an adjective or might appear as a noun:

Using sus to describe someone untrustworthy

Person 1: “Let’s ask that guy for a ride home.”

Person 2: “Nah, he looks sus.”

Using sus to describe suspicious behavior or lying

Person 1: “What makes you think he’s cheating on you?”

Person 2: “He’s acting sus.”

Using sus to refer to someone sketchy or unlikeable

Person 1: “How come you’re not inviting Sara to the party?”

Person 2: “I don’t want her there. She’s sus.”

Using sus to refer to something unsettling

Person 1: “When I came home last night my door was already unlocked.”

Person 2: “That’s mad sus. Maybe you should check your cameras.”

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Alice Kelly is a writer and storyteller with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. When she’s not creating content for Your Tango, you can catch her working on creative fiction and vintage shopping.