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

Requiring a background check on every gun sale can help ensure that domestic abusers, felons, and people with dangerous histories never gain access to guns in the first place. Shannon Watts, Vogue, "Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us," 31 Jan. 2019 The ballot initiative would automatically restore voting rights to felons who’ve completed all the terms of their sentences. Scott Maxwell, OrlandoSentinel.com, "In Florida, getting back civil rights means groveling to politicians," 11 July 2018 One employee, for example, on multiple occasions, issued permits to felons. Jack Greiner, Cincinnati.com, "Concealed carry: Why keeping Ohio's concealed carry permit records secret could be dangerous," 11 July 2018 Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, restoring civil and voting rights to former felons. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Nathan Larson is a pedophile and a white supremacist. And he's running for Congress," 1 June 2018 Despite a last-ditch effort to overturn a recent bill restoring voting rights to ex-felons in Louisiana, legislators in the Statehouse recently passed a bill doing just that, another victory for criminal-justice reform. Angela Helm, The Root, "Louisiana Prosecutors Try but Can’t Stop Ex-Felons From Regaining Voting Rights," 23 May 2018 The city sent largely unredacted personnel files for at least six of the officers in October 2015 to an inmate at Menard Correctional Center and released similar files for the seventh officer to another felon, according to court documents. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora can take deposition of convicted murderer who sought cops' personnel files from behind bars," 6 Apr. 2018 Lee also is charged with furnishing a firearm to a felon. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "6 kids left alone when girl, 9, was killed by brother in accidental shooting, charges say," 13 Mar. 2018 Florida has a slow process for restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. CBS News, "Ruling on voting rights for felons in Florida could impact upcoming elections," 2 Feb. 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

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Statistics for felon

Last Updated

17 May 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

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