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

Manafort received a mere 48 months behind bars, which must have been a delightful surprised to this felon, since the sentencing guidelines recommended a 19- to 24-year stint. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Can a Flagpole File a Harassment Lawsuit?," 10 Mar. 2019 And given that the alternative is armed felons, that seems like a pretty sensible outcome. Jack Greiner, Cincinnati.com, "Concealed carry: Why keeping Ohio's concealed carry permit records secret could be dangerous," 11 July 2018 That incident resulted in five new charges: felon in possession of a handgun, possession of a pipe and of marijuana, fleeing an officer, and failure to obey an officer's commands. Cynthia Sewell, idahostatesman, "He said he was on a path to 'positive change.' Then came prison time, & the shootout," 5 July 2018 He was being held for multiple charges including possession of a firearm by a felon, drug trafficking and failure to appear. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "They escaped from a N.M. jail in their boxers. Now one of their guards is behind bars," 19 June 2018 Garcia was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges, but was convicted of being a felon who possessed a firearm. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Anatomy of a Trump rally: 76 percent of claims are false, misleading or lacking evidence," 10 July 2018 As the Bureau outlines, felons are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Medical marijuana or guns? Oklahoma latest state forced to choose," 29 June 2018 Her inclination to choose bad partners leads her to a meth-addicted illiterate felon who inexplicably captures his mother’s heart and forces Gold to finally come to terms with his past. Jim Ruland, latimes.com, "A feral California childhood is revealed in Glen David Gold's 'I Will Be Complete'," 27 June 2018 Court records show Woodruffe has a long criminal record, including arrests for assault on a family member, drug possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Juan A. Lozano, The Seattle Times, "Man authorities believe shot Texas girl charged with murder," 9 Jan. 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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Statistics for felon

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for felon

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with felon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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