[Ads-l] Convict

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 15 00:27:02 UTC 2023

I note that HDAS, edited by a distinguished lexicographer whose name I forget, glosses “con” as ‘a convict or ex-convict’. I would be surprised if “con” (as opposed to “ex-con”) were used more broadly than “convict” (as opposed to “ex-convict”). It does appear that the vast majority—perhaps the entirety—of the entries at the “con” lemma are for incarcerated, rather than formerly incarcerated, con(vict)s.  


> On Jun 8, 2023, at 7:03 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> I saw the following headline in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal:
> Ruling Weakens Gun Ban for Convicts.
> I would expect a pretty strong gun ban for convicts, since the word means
> convicted of a crime AND serving the sentence.
> The gentleman in question pleaded guilty to $2,500 of food stamp fraud in
> 1995. He has not been incarcerated for a long time.
> Has "convict" shifted its meaning to mean simply someone convicted of a
> crime at some time in the past?
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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