\ ˈkän How to pronounce conn (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
conned; conning

Definition of conn

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

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


variants: or less commonly con

Definition of conn (Entry 2 of 3)

: the control exercised by one who conns a ship

Definition of Conn (Entry 3 of 3)

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Synonyms for conn

Synonyms: Verb

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Did You Know?


In the 19th century, warships (and, later, submarines) began to be built with structures known as "conning towers." These structures were so called because it was from them that an officer could "conn" the vessel. The verb "conn" (also spelled "con") is first known to have appeared in English in the 1600s. It is an alteration of "cond," which is probably an alteration of Middle English "condien" or conduen, meaning "to conduct." Since the 19th century, "conn" has also been used as a noun ("the control exercised by one who conducts or directs the steering of a ship"). This noun, though seldom encountered in general English, is likely familiar to fans of the various Star Trek series in which the directive "You have the conn" is sometimes given from the starship captain to another officer on the bridge.

Examples of conn in a Sentence

Verb there was white-knuckle tension as the captain conned the gunboat through the mine-infested harbor

First Known Use of conn


1626, in the meaning defined above


1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conn


alteration of cond, probably alteration of Middle English condien, conduen to conduct, from Anglo-French cunduire — more at conduit

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Cite this Entry

“Conn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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