[Ads-l] Convict

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 16 15:01:22 UTC 2023

The OED calls this definition archaic:

One convicted in a judicial investigation of a punishable offence. archaic.

Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/convict) and Dictionary.com <http://dictionary.com/> (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/convict) both have this meaning without a label. Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/convict) includes "and under sentence for a crime”.

FWIW, it seems strange to call someone a convict until they are incarcerated (i.e., it seems strange to call someone found guilty a convict before they have been put in jail, which does not always happen), but it’s hard to argue my point given the verb form. 

Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
Formerly of Seattle, WA

> On Jun 14, 2023, at 17:27, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
> 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.  
> LH
>> 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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list