fel·on | \ˈfe-lən \

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

Some Democratic strategists were hoping that Mr. Rose would face Mr. Grimm, believing that a felon would be easier to beat. Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times, "With G.O.P. Primary on Staten Island Over, Enter the Democrat," 29 June 2018 To be successful, those searches required the DNA belong to someone previously convicted, or to a close relative who also was a felon and therefore in the database. Anita Chabria, sacbee, "Vallejo police have sent Zodiac Killer DNA to a lab. Results could come in weeks | The Sacramento Bee," 2 May 2018 Get to know Amendment 4: The ex-felon in that photo up there is Desmond Meade, who was convicted on drug and firearm charges in 2001 and subsequently turned his life around, obtaining a law degree. Dan Sweeney, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Power Lunch: Four amendments on 2018 ballot and counting," 24 Jan. 2018 The ex-felon is legally prohibited from owning or possessing guns. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Sacramento rapper Mozzy, barred from owning guns, arrested in Vegas for gun possession," 10 July 2018 The former charges could prove costly since he's labeled as an ex-felon. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Mozzy Arrested for Gun Possession in Las Vegas: Report," 9 July 2018 He has been charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. Robert A. Cronkleton And Katy Bergen, kansascity, "Westport shooting leaves 2 injured; privatization security measures weren't in place," 8 July 2018 For the past seven years, the state has required that ex-felons wait at least five years after their sentences are complete to apply to regain voting rights. Elizabeth Koh, miamiherald, "Here are the 13 constitutional amendments on Florida's 2018 ballot and what they do," 14 June 2018 Among the measures with the lowest voter support was Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to ex-felons who have served their sentences. Lloyd Dunkelberger, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Gambling expansion amendment has enough support to pass, poll shows," 13 June 2018

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


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

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Statistics for felon

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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 \

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 \

Legal Definition of felon 

: one who has committed a felony

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