con n.

a convention; an organized gathering of fans; cf. -con suffix


SF Fandom

  • 1939 M. Reinsberg First Progress Report in Fantasy Fictioneer (#1) Nov.–Dec. 5 page image Mark Reinsberg bibliography

    Inquiries have been pouring in...almost to [sic] fast to be answered at length. Some of the bigh [sic] author group has joined the Con. ranks; more will follow. Dozens of celebrities have declared their intention of attending, though some must come hundreds of miles to do so.

  • 1942 L. T. Shaw Letter in Planet Stories Spring 128/2 page image Larry T. Shaw bibliography

    Three more cheers for the 4 WS-F Con.

  • 1959 R. Eney Fancyclopedia II (1979) 33 Dick Eney bibliography

    Coming together of fans from various localities, usually at a call issued by some organization or local group. And the designation is used as a combining word to make up some distinctive name for the brawl—either ‘con’ itself or its completions, -vention, -ference, -clave, or -fabulation. These words are not equivalent, for convention usually refers to the principal annual gathering; other formal get-togethers are conferences or conclaves.

  • 1988 S. McCrumb Bimbos of Death Sun i. 7 Sharyn McCrumb bibliography

    You here for the con?

  • 1988 Locus Apr. 37/3

    If you want to know who those people are you keep running into at cons…you keep reading Locus.

  • 1989 Nova Express Spring 9/1

    Karl…was far more interested in New Orleans than in the con itself.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 4/2

    Noreascon II was the best run and most enjoyable Worldcon I've attended, and I managed to get to much more of the con than last year.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 30/2

    For many years, I've tried to be a simonpure fan, never charging for a fanzine…refusing payment for the occasional contribution to a large con’s program book.

  • 1991 L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & M. Flynn Fallen Angels 89 Larry Niven Michael F. Flynn Jerry Pournelle bibliography

    A public venue was naturally out of the question; and very few fen owned homes large enough to house even a small con.

  • 1991 Locus Sept. 54/2

    Many highly-respected and/or best-selling authors got only a few votes—no one wanted to meet frequent con-goer Jack Chalker, for instance, though he got votes in all three of the other categories.

  • 1991 L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & M. Flynn Fallen Angels 21 bibliography

    Not Fandom. I was reading the true quill long before I knew about Fandom and cons and such.

  • 1994 Interzone Mar. 26/2

    There’s plenty of people out there who read sf and fantasy as part of a balanced reading diet and who don’t think of themselves as fans, and who'd probably go pale at the thought of spending a weekend at a con.

  • 1996 SFX May 21/1

    Ten years ago, Tony Luke and I were simply a couple of fan-boy Hitchiker’s Guide fans going to cons and writing for fanzines.

  • 2001 Science Fiction Chronicle July 46/1

    I'm convinced that, largely through cons, science fiction deserves to be considered a literary movement, wherein each writer interacts with others.

  • 2020 A. Poston Bookish & the Beast 11 Ashley Poston

    I just wanted to go back to the hotel room and get out of these heels and take a hot shower to get all of the con grime off me.

Research requirements

antedating 1939

Earliest cite

Mark Reinsberg, in Fantasy Fictioneer

Research History
Geri Sullivan submitted a 1959 cite from Fancyclopedia II.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1944 cite from the original Fancyclopedia.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite for "Pacificon" from a 1975 reprint of Anthony Boucher's "Rocket to the Morgue": Jeff Prucher verified this in its 1942 first publication.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1942 cite for "con" as a standalone word, from a letter by Larry Shaw to Planet Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite for "Chicon" from an editorial in Astounding Stories for October 1940.
Bee Ostrowsky submitted a 2020 cite from Ashley Poston.
Bee Ostrowsky submitted two 1939 cites from Mark Reinsberg, for both the standalone form (as a graphic abbreviation, i.e. with a period) and the combining form.
We would like to get any examples from the 1930s, as in the names of various conventions/conferences held at that time (e.g. Chicon).

Added to the OED in September 2002 with an earliest cite of 1944. Subequently updated with a 1940 example.

Last modified 2022-07-14 14:19:43
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.