con

1 of 12

noun (1)

: something (such as a ruse) used deceptively to gain another's confidence
He knew too much about con to fall for that one …Herbert Gold
also : a confidence game : swindle

con

2 of 12

verb (1)

conned; conning

transitive verb

1
: swindle
accused of conning retirees out of their savings
2
: manipulate sense 2b
He conned his way into the job.
3
: persuade, cajole
conned her into volunteering

con

3 of 12

noun (2)

con

4 of 12

noun (3)

plural cons
informal
: convention sense 2b
a comic book con
Now, such gatherings as the Further Confusion convention in San Jose, California, and Anthrocon in Philadelphia, attract more than 1,000 furry hobbyists apiece. (The Midwest FurFest is a smaller "con," with about 400 attending.)George Gurley

con

5 of 12

noun (4)

1
: an argument or evidence in opposition
2
: the negative position or one holding it
an appraisal of the pros and cons

con

6 of 12

adverb

: on the negative side : in opposition
so much has been written pro and con

con

7 of 12

adjective

: confidence
a con artist
a con game

con

8 of 12

verb (2)

conned; conning

transitive verb

1
: to commit to memory
conned the poem
2
: to study or examine closely
Clare regarded her attentively, conned the characters of her face as if they had been hieroglyphics.Thomas Hardy

con

9 of 12

noun (5)

slang
: a destructive disease of the lungs
especially : tuberculosis

con

10 of 12

verb (3)

less common spelling of conn

transitive verb

: to conduct or direct the steering of (a vessel, such as a ship)

con

11 of 12

abbreviation

1
consolidated
2
[Latin conjunx] consort
3
consul
4
continued

con-

12 of 12

prefix

see com-

Examples of con in a Sentence

Noun (1) a program to help ex-cons find employment Verb (1) a fly-by-night operator who had conned hundreds of would-be homeowners out of their hard-earned money tried to con me into thinking that he had actually won the lottery Noun (2) the explanation was so plausible that I never suspected it was all a con to make off with my car Noun (5) usually candidates con their entire campaign speech, right down to the jokes they supposedly ad-lib seemed to be conning his face for any sign of uncertainty
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Marianne Smyth, an American woman who conned a reality producer and allegedly several other figures in and around Hollywood between 2013 and 2017, has been arrested in Maine as Northern Ireland seeks to extradite her to face charges. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Mar. 2024 Those who prosecutors say Valdez conned into providing the verification codes had their accounts compromised and personal images stolen, according to the court filing. Julia Marnin, Miami Herald, 4 Mar. 2024 Although Pathological: The Lies of Joran van der Sloot examines a murder’s successful efforts to con the media, Cassel says his documentary doesn’t sympathize with him, and instead exposes van der Sloot’s corrupt behavior, while paying tribute to the victim’s families. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 1 Mar. 2024 By Saturday afternoon, the experience had been canceled and local police confirmed to NBC News that they were called to the scene after attendees who felt conned began demanding refunds. Angela Yang, NBC News, 28 Feb. 2024 As clutches laid by those snakes failed to contain any crimson hatchlings, vexed breeders agreed that they’d been conned. Rebecca Giggs, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 Darwall’s report convincingly demonstrates how Britain was conned into net zero by deceptive and illusory promises of cheap renewable power. Andrew Puzder, National Review, 5 Feb. 2024 The fact that Norma’s fallen into a coma, and can’t be charmed (or conned) by Maxine any further, doesn’t help either. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 20 Mar. 2024 Related Articles Redwood City widow conned out of nearly $2 million, bank accused of helping scammers The first 10 years of legal marijuana in Colorado were a wild ride. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, 25 Feb. 2024
Noun
Cannabis advocates are urging health authorities to weigh the pros and cons of cannabis in comparison to alcohol and cigarettes and use science and facts to determine what should be drugs. TIME, 10 May 2024 However, the prescription medication required to treat fungal infections is expensive and can have side effects, so be sure to discuss the pros and cons of treatment with your specialist. Heather L. Brannon, Md, Verywell Health, 9 May 2024 This con, even if not always lucrative, allowed Tahilramani to showcase his ability to impersonate, persuade and act. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, 8 May 2024 Here are the pros and cons Why a high-yield savings account may be better than a CD this spring 3 critical investing mistakes to avoid right now Kate Gibson Kate Gibson is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch in New York. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 6 May 2024 The pair also talked about formative musical influences such as Devo, Nirvana and Beck, touring with Radiohead, the pros and cons of licensing songs for commercials, persevering in the music business and Carney’s top five favorite bands who should have been bigger. Spin Staff, SPIN, 5 May 2024 Significantly, the report wasn’t written to weigh the pros and cons of autonomous battlefield technologies; instead, the group assumed that such systems will inevitably be deployed. IEEE Spectrum, 27 Apr. 2024 And the country is at the center of a cyber-scam industry that steals billions of dollars from unsuspecting people and kidnaps others to forcibly work the cons. Hannah Beech, New York Times, 20 Apr. 2024 Here are the pros and cons of their three options regarding targets for Brock Purdy in 2024 and beyond: KEEPING ALL THREE Pro: Imagine the things Shanahan could do with shifts and motions adding Pearsall to the mix. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 26 Apr. 2024
Adjective
There’s Benjamin Franklin’s three-century-old pro/con model, but there are also more advanced ways to answer important questions, Kozyrkov said. Byrachyl Jones, Fortune, 6 Sep. 2023 The thing to eat is at Vitek's and called the Gut Pack: Barbecue beans, cheese and con chips with sausage and peppers. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 2 July 2023 But when the man Maizy brings back is more con than corn, Lulu and the entire town must learn that sometimes help comes from unlikely corny places. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 3 May 2023 While travelling on a cruise ship, Hopsie falls for a con woman named Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck). Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2023 Torn between her feelings for Paxton and Ben, Devi creates a pro-con list with Fab and Eleanor. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 11 Aug. 2022 And while the old Miranda would have faced her mid-life crisis by whipping a legal pad out of her normcore briefcase and making a pro-con list, this Miranda’s response is a lot more Carrie. Hayley Maitland, Vogue, 21 Jan. 2022 Indeed, Harmon's aim for her story was not to wade through the pro/con GMO arguments, but to open a new window onto a complicated subject. Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 1 Aug. 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'con.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

derivative of con entry 7

Verb (1)

derivative of con entry 1 or con entry 7

Noun (2)

by shortening

Noun (3)

by shortening

Noun (4)

derivative of con entry 6

Adverb

short for Latin contrā "opposite, against," in the phrase pro and contra — more at contra-

Adjective

by shortening

Verb (2)

Middle English connen to know, learn, study, alteration of cunnen to know, infinitive of can — more at can entry 1

Noun (5)

short for consumption

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1901, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1893, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1940, in the meaning defined above

Noun (4)

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1889, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (5)

1915, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of con was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near con

Cite this Entry

“Con.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/con. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

con

1 of 9 noun
: a dishonest trick used to gain someone's confidence
also : a confidence game : swindle

con

2 of 9 verb
conned; conning
: to deceive or trick (someone) : to persuade (someone) by telling lies
conning retirees out of their money

con

3 of 9 adjective
: confidence entry 2
a con game
a con artist

con

4 of 9 noun

con

5 of 9 noun
informal
: convention sense 2
a comic con

con

6 of 9 adverb
: on the negative side : in opposition
argue pro and con

con

7 of 9 noun
: an opposing argument, person, or position
the pros and cons of the question

con

8 of 9 verb
1
2
: to study carefully

con-

9 of 9
see com-
Etymology

Adverb

Middle English con "on the negative side, against"; a shortened form of contra "against, contrary"

Verb

Middle English connen "to know, learn," derived from can (auxiliary verb) "to know, know how to"

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