Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. In opposition or disagreement; against: debated the issue pro and con.
  • n. An argument or opinion against something.
  • n. One who holds an opposing opinion or view.
  • transitive v. To study, peruse, or examine carefully.
  • transitive v. To learn or commit to memory.
  • transitive v. To direct the steering or course of (a vessel).
  • n. The station or post of the person who steers a vessel.
  • n. The act or process of steering a vessel.
  • transitive v. To swindle (a victim) by first winning his or her confidence; dupe.
  • n. A swindle.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or involving a swindle or fraud: a con artist; a con job.
  • n. Slang A convict.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To study, especially in order to gain knowledge of.
  • v. To know, understand, acknowledge.
  • v. Variant spelling of conn: to conduct the movements of a ship at sea.
  • n. A disadvantage of something, especially when contrasted with its advantages (pros).
  • n. A convicted criminal, a convict.
  • n. A fraud; something carried out with the intention of deceiving, usually for personal, often illegal, gain.
  • v. To trick or defraud, usually for personal gain.
  • v. To give the necessary orders to the helmsman to steer a ship in the required direction through a channel etc. (rather than steer a compass direction)
  • n. The navigational direction of a ship
  • n. An organized gathering such as a convention or conference.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Against the affirmative side; in opposition; on the negative side; -- The antithesis of pro, and usually in connection with it. See pro.
  • transitive v. To know; to understand; to acknowledge.
  • transitive v. To study in order to know; to peruse; to learn; to commit to memory; to regard studiously.
  • transitive v. To conduct, or superintend the steering of (a vessel); to watch the course of (a vessel) and direct the helmsman how to steer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A dialectal or obsolete variant of can.
  • To try; attempt (to do a thing).
  • To try; examine; test; taste.
  • To peruse carefully and attentively; study or pore over; learn: as, to con a lesson: often with over.
  • Nautical: To direct (the man at the helm of a vessel) how to steer.
  • To give orders for the steering of: as, to con a ship.
  • n. Naut.: The position taken by the person who cons or directs the steering of a vessel.
  • n. The act of conning.
  • n. A variant of can, for gan, preterit of gin, begin. See can, gin.
  • n. An abbreviation of the Latin contra, against (see contra), especially common in the phrase pro and con (Latin pro et contra), for and against, in favor of and opposed to: sometimes used as a noun, with a plural, the pros and cons, the arguments, or arguers, or voters, for and against a proposition.
  • n. The most frequent form of com-.
  • Short for ‘confidence’: as a con man; a con game. See confidence man, confidence game (under confidence).
  • An abbreviation of Consul
  • [lowercase] of conclusion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. deprive of by deceit
  • adv. in opposition to a proposition, opinion, etc.
  • n. an argument opposed to a proposal
  • n. a person serving a sentence in a jail or prison
  • v. commit to memory; learn by heart
  • n. a swindle in which you cheat at gambling or persuade a person to buy worthless property

Etymologies

Short for contra.
Middle English connen, to know, from Old English cunnan; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.
From cond, from Middle English conduen, from Old French conduire, from Latin condūcere, to lead together; see conduce.
Short for confidence.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English connen, from Old English cunnan ("to know, know how"). More at can. (Wiktionary)
Abbreviation of Latin contra ("against"). (Wiktionary)
Shortened from convict. (Wiktionary)
From con trick, shortened from confidence trick. (Wiktionary)
From earlier cond, from Middle English conduen, from Old French conduire, from Latin condūcere, present active infinitive of condūcō ("draw together; conduct"). (Wiktionary)
Abbreviation of convention or conference (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • In the sense of deceit has been ruled unparliamentary language by the Speaker of the House of Commons during a debate, in October 2013, in which the prime minister apparently accused the leader of the opposition of using dubious reasoning.

    October 30, 2013

  • Cunt in French. Not very much a taboo, and not a very strong word. There's even an affectionate insult like: vieux con, old fool. Le roi des cons, "king of cunts" implies to a total idiot, while Quelle connerie! means "What rubbish!".



    Catherine Blackledge: The story of V.

    March 6, 2008