Main definitions of con in English

: con1con2con3

con1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Persuade (someone) to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception.

    ‘I conned him into giving me your home number’
    ‘she was jailed for conning her aunt out of $500,000’
    • ‘He is charged with sending spam emails which conned people into believing that they had won millions of dollars in overseas lotteries, or inheritance, or through a business opportunity.’
    • ‘Since the beginning of June there have been 39 burglaries in which thieves have conned their way into homes.’
    • ‘Also, the trailers and TV ads are conning us into believing that it's about a talking kangaroo.’
    • ‘Other crimes involve impersonating international police investigators, snatching purses, and gangs conning tourists into the ever-popular ‘black money scam’.’
    • ‘It's certainly totally immoral to con people that they have a psychic connection when there is none.’
    • ‘Today, she is starting three-and-a-half years behind bars for her latest deceptions, plus six months for trying to con the judge into believing a fish and chip shop was a hospital.’
    • ‘They con the girls into believing they are about to make it onto the front page of every magazine.’
    • ‘According to Jevans, it is hard to know how many people are conned by phishing scams.’
    • ‘Most of these reports were of tourists being conned or swindled.’
    • ‘Police believe the man conned his way into the 41-year-old victim's house by offering to do building work.’
    • ‘‘Up is down, and down is up… My feeling is that someone has essentially conned her into believing that she's going to be voting,’ he said.’
    • ‘Telephone fraudsters are being foiled in their attempts to con people out of hundreds of pounds.’
    • ‘What happened is some very smart people got conned by the little office conman, and that's what this kid turns out to be.’
    • ‘Governments only need to spend millions of dollars trying to con us into believing that they've done a good job if they haven't.’
    • ‘We allow criminals who have stolen or conned people out of their money to retain their assets even though the property that they have taken has not been recovered.’
    • ‘It works the first time, causing the person being conned to believe that the rest of the notes will be cleaned and thus yield a fortune.’
    • ‘He managed to con people into believing he was an airline pilot, a lawyer and a doctor.’
    • ‘The Internet giant has taken almost two weeks to respond to allegations of a scam designed to con its users out of £199.’
    • ‘He couldn't believe that he had let Frankie con him into believing him.’
    • ‘His exceptional skills at grifting combined with his good looks have allowed him to believe that he can con anybody.’
    swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, fleece, dupe, deceive, rook, exploit, squeeze, milk, bleed
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century (originally US): abbreviation of confidence, as in confidence trick.

Pronunciation

con

/kɑn//kän/

Main definitions of con in English

: con1con2con3

con2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Study attentively or learn by heart (a piece of writing)

    ‘the children conned their pages with a great show of industry’
    • ‘Anyone who does know something about it is more likely to have acquired that knowledge in bits by conning books (however carefully) or taking a few workshops on weekends or for a week in the summer.’
    • ‘"Set in a notebook, learned & conned by rote" From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.’
    • ‘We hope to show that a logic-based learning method can be applied to less conned learning tasks.’

Origin

Middle English cunne, conne, con, variants of can.

Pronunciation

con

/kɑn//kän/

Main definitions of con in English

: con1con2con3

con3

(US conn)

verb

[WITH OBJECT]Nautical
  • Direct the steering of (a ship)

    ‘he hadn't conned anything bigger than a Boston whaler’
    • ‘Then the lanky, bearded boatswain would take the helm while the captain conned the ship from one bridge wing or the other, with the chief engineer at his elbow’
    • ‘Together they stood in the foretops and conned the ship in through the seething maelstrom of the equatorial current.’
    • ‘Why is the term ‘bridge’ used to signify the place from where a ship is conned?’

Origin

Early 17th century: apparently a weakened form of obsolete cond ‘conduct, guide’, from Old French conduire, from Latin conducere (see conduce).

Pronunciation

con

/kɑn//kän/