early 15c., "a temporary halting or deprivation," from Latin suspensionem (nominative suspensio) "the act or state of hanging up, a vaulting," noun of action, from past-participle stem of suspendere "to hang up, cause to hang, suspend," from assimilated form of sub "up from under" (see sub-) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin"). Suspension of disbelief is from Coleridge:
A semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. ["Biographia Literaria," 1817]
Meaning "action of hanging by a support from above" is attested from 1540s. Meaning "particles suspended in liquid without dissolving" is from 1707. Suspension-bridge is recorded by 1819 (earlier suspended bridge, 1796).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to draw, stretch, spin."
It forms all or part of: append; appendix; avoirdupois; compendium; compensate; compensation; counterpoise; depend; dispense; equipoise; expend; expense; expensive; hydroponics; impend; painter (n.2) "rope or chain that holds an anchor to a ship's side;" pansy; penchant; pend; pendant; pendentive; pending; pendular; pendulous; pendulum; pension; pensive; penthouse; perpendicular; peso; poise; ponder; ponderous; pound (n.1) "measure of weight;" prepend; prepense; preponderate; propensity; recompense; span (n.1) "distance between two objects;" span (n.2) "two animals driven together;" spangle; spanner; spend; spider; spin; spindle; spinner; spinster; stipend; suspend; suspension.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin pendere "to hang, to cause to hang," pondus "weight" (perhaps the notion is the weight of a thing measured by how much it stretches a cord), pensare "to weigh, consider;" Greek ponos "toil," ponein "to toil;" Lithuanian spendžiu, spęsti "lay a snare;" Old Church Slavonic peti "stretch, strain," pato "fetter," pina "I span;" Old English spinnan "to spin," spannan "to join, fasten; stretch, span;" Armenian henum "I weave;" Greek patos "garment," literally "that which is spun;" Lithuanian pinu "I plait, braid," spandau "I spin;" Middle Welsh cy-ffiniden "spider;" Old English spinnan "draw out and twist fibers into thread," spiðra "spider," literally "spinner."
1590s, "suspension of the execution of a criminal's sentence," from reprieve (v.). By 1630s in a general sense of "respite or temporary escape."
mid-15c., from Old French ajornement "daybreak, dawn; summons (to appear in court)," from ajorner (see adjourn), with unetymological -d- added in English on the mistaken notion of a Latin origin.
Adjournment is the act by which an assembly suspends its session in virtue of authority inherent in itself; it may be also the time or interval of such suspension. A recess is a customary suspension of business, as during the period of certain recognized or legal holidays .... Recess is also popularly used for a brief suspension of business for any reason: as, it was agreed that there be a recess of ten minutes. [Century Dictionary]
1880, proprietary name for white suspension of magnesium hydroxide in water, taken as an antacid, invented by U.S. chemist Charles Henry Phillips. Herbal or culinary preparations more or less resembling milk had been similarly named (for example milk of almond) since late 14c.
1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone due payment," from neuter of Late Latin moratorius "tending to delay," from Latin morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," from PIE *morh- "to hinder, delay" (source also of Sanskrit amurchat "to congeal, become solid;" Old Irish maraid "lasts, remains"). The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement, deliberate temporary suspension" is recorded by 1932. Related: Moratorial.