fel·​on | \ ˈfe-lən How to pronounce felon (audio) \

Definition of felon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who has committed a felony
2 archaic : villain
3 : a painful abscess of the deep tissues of the palmar surface of the fingertip that is typically caused by bacterial infection (as with a staphylococcus) and is marked by swelling and pain — compare whitlow sense 1



Definition of felon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic
a : cruel
b : evil
2 archaic : wild

Examples of felon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Witcher also was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "'Reign of Terror': Pair Allegedly Killed Ala. Woman, Then Killed Mom, Son, Man to Steal Car," 23 Dec. 2019 Maine authorities charged him with 10 counts of possession of firearms by a felon, but dropped those charges so as not to delay his return to Connecticut, Penobscot County District Attorney Marianne Lynch said Friday. David Owens, courant.com, "Suspect in 1986 rape and killing of 11-year-old Kathleen Flynn in Norwalk waives extradition in Maine, is headed back to Connecticut," 14 June 2019 An officer came to the shower and checked the couple’s IDs to ensure they were not convicted felons, according to Maj. Erin Franczak, USA TODAY, "Florida couple finds loaded semi-automatic rifle in baby shower gift bought at Goodwill," 6 Dec. 2019 However, prosecutors wound up charging the men with being felons in possession of firearms and ammunition. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Orinda shooting: East Bay man pleads not guilty to gun charge linked to Halloween killings," 25 Nov. 2019 An election integrity advocate is criticizing Minnesota officials for what the group characterizes as a weak defense of a lawsuit aimed at restoring voting rights for convicted felons on probation. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Election integrity group says Minnesota is not properly defending felon voting ban," 22 Nov. 2019 There are a lot of felons in Florida who could use the money to pay that state's new poll tax. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Elizabeth Warren Takes a Turn in the Hot Seat at Democratic Debate," 16 Oct. 2019 These can quickly add up—particularly for poor felons. The Economist, "More of Florida’s former felons may finally get to vote," 24 Oct. 2019 One member of this panel was Judge William Newsom, a strong believer in rehabilitation for felons. George Osterkamp, CBS News, "Notorious Chowchilla bus kidnapper ran a gold mine and Christmas tree farm from prison," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'felon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of felon


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for felon


Middle English, from Anglo-French felun, fel evildoer, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German fillen to beat, whip, fel skin — more at fell

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Time Traveler for felon

Time Traveler

The first known use of felon was in the 13th century

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Statistics for felon

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Felon.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/felon. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for felon


How to pronounce felon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of felon

: a criminal who has committed a serious crime (called a felony)


fel·​on | \ ˈfe-lən How to pronounce felon (audio) \

Kids Definition of felon



Medical Definition of felon

: a painful abscess of the deep tissues of the palmar surface of the fingertip that is typically caused by infection of a bacterium (such as Staphylococcus aureus) and is marked by swelling and pain — compare paronychia, whitlow sense 1

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fel·​on | \ ˈfe-lən How to pronounce felon (audio) \

Legal Definition of felon

: one who has committed a felony

History and Etymology for felon

Anglo-French felon, fel, literally, evildoer, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin

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More from Merriam-Webster on felon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for felon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with felon

Spanish Central: Translation of felon

Nglish: Translation of felon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of felon for Arabic Speakers

Comments on felon

What made you want to look up felon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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