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felon

1
[ fel-uhn ]
/ ˈfɛl ən /
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noun
Law. a person who has committed a felony.
Archaic. a wicked person.
adjective
Archaic. wicked; malicious; treacherous.
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Origin of felon

1
1250–1300; Middle English fel(o)un “wicked, wicked person, evildoer,” from Old French fel (nominative), felun (oblique) “wicked person, traitor,” from Medieval Latin fellon- , stem of fello “villain, evildoer”; ultimate etymology uncertain

usage note for felon

Once a person is no longer engaged in crime we can say "He's a former criminal." And once a person is no longer incarcerated, we can say "She's an ex-convict." Though both statements carry a stigma, they leave open the possibility that the people in question have changed their behavior. But this does not seem to be the case with the term felon , which appears to have no time limit. Once a person has been convicted of a felony, he or she can be considered a felon for life, according to the strict meaning of the word. (The term ex-felon , for example, is rarely used.) Advocates for the reform of our criminal justice system point out that this usage makes it even harder for rehabilitated former criminals to reintegrate into society and thereby turn away from a life of crime.

Other definitions for felon (2 of 2)

felon2
[ fel-uhn ]
/ ˈfɛl ən /

noun
an acute and painful inflammation of the deeper tissues of a finger or toe, usually near the nail: a form of whitlow.

Origin of felon

2
1375–1425; late Middle English felo(u)n<Medieval Latin fellōn- (stem of fellō) scrofulous tumor, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use felon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for felon (1 of 2)

felon1
/ (ˈfɛlən) /

noun
criminal law (formerly) a person who has committed a felony
obsolete a wicked person
adjective
archaic, or poetic evil; cruel

Word Origin for felon

C13: from Old French: villain, from Medieval Latin fellō, of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for felon (2 of 2)

felon2
/ (ˈfɛlən) /

noun
a purulent inflammation of the end joint of a finger, sometimes affecting the bone

Word Origin for felon

C12: from Medieval Latin fellō sore, perhaps from Latin fel poison
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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