Can "convicted" be used to qualify somebody who has a conviction (in the sense of strong opinion)? In that context it would be a close synonym of convinced or opinionated for example.

It possibly makes etymological sense but I don't know if it is (or has ever been) an accepted usage of that word in English.

  • I think it would be "Convictive". He said it with such conviction. He was convictive Sep 3, 2013 at 15:12
  • 3
    Aside: Lots of people have been convicted (normal meaning) for having strong opinions :P Sep 3, 2013 at 15:12
  • @James Webster (comment 1): If convicted (adjective) were not obsolete, convicted would relate to convinced as convictive does to convincing. The latter two adjectives necessarily accompany a demonstration (an attempt to convince, say) whereas 'convinced' doesn't - it refers to a person's belief system. Sep 3, 2013 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


Convicted has been used in the sense of convinced.

†3. To prove, establish by proof, as against assertions to the contrary. (= convince v. 5) (Orig. of things blamable.) Obs.
c1475 (▸?c1400) Apol. Lollard Doctr. (1842) 3 If he be conuicted not to luf, ne to do þe office of Crist.
1558 Q. Kennedy Compendius Tractiue in D. Laing Misc. Wodrow Soc. (1844) I. 119 Thir twa argumentis..convictis the generale Counsalis to be the membir of the Congregatioun representand the universale Kirk.
1563 2nd Tome Homelyes Rebellion ii, in J. Griffiths Two Bks. Homilies (1859) ii. 565 Convicting such subjects..to be neither good subjects nor good men.
1593 R. Hooker Of Lawes Eccl. Politie iii. xi. 168 Imagining that these proofs will conuict a testament to haue that in it which other men can no where by reading find.
1656 J. Smith Compl. Pract. Physick 137 Cold water may be allowed to those are used to it, on the state and the matter being convicted.


I had thought that it appeared in Austen's writings too, but it is listed as now obsolete.

  • 1
    Obsolete it may be, but I have heard the word used in this context by born-again Christians who state they are "convicted of Christ" -- don't know if this a resurrection of the term, or they just want to make a special kind of emphasis, through use of the archaic. Sep 3, 2013 at 16:43

Use of convicted as a close synonym of convinced or opinionated is rare, but certainly not unknown. For example, in The Gondoliers, as Grand Inquisitioner Don Alhambra del Bolero tries to overcome objections of Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri against one of them being King, the term is used in this sense, among others:

GIU. Such a king would be a blessing to his people, and if I were a king, that is the sort of king I would be.
MAR. And so would I!
DON AL. Come, I'm glad to find your objections are not insuperable.
MAR. and GIU. Oh, they're not insuperable.
GIANETTA and TESSA No, they're not insuperable.
GIU. Besides, we are open to conviction.
GIA. Yes; they are open to conviction.
TESS. Oh! they've often been convicted.

Here's an example of use in a contemporary blog:

i think that most of you know by now that i am a person with strong convictions but as i get older and hopefully wiser, i am learning that i have often been convicted about the wrong things.

  • 2
    I am fairly sure that Gilbert and Sullivan meant "Oh! they've often been convicted" as a pun on the judicial meaning of convicted, and not as an example of the type the OP is looking for. Sep 3, 2013 at 17:17
  • 1
    @PeterShor, yes, it's a pun that plays on two different meanings, as I implied via phrase “the term is used in this sense, among others”. Sep 3, 2013 at 17:28
  • 1
    I am not sure how much confidence we can have in a quote from a random blog - I asked the original question because I heard someone use the word in a context that seemed odd.
    – assylias
    Sep 4, 2013 at 9:28

I think it's a matter of connotation, as I have heard convicted used (rarely,) but with a sense that it differs from convinced as know differs from believe. Someone who's convinced can be convinced of something different, possibly, but to be convicted is to be, by implication, "locked in" to a stance (pun intended by me if not by earlier usage.)

  • Welcome to EL&U. As a newcomer you may be unaware that an answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. I recommend you edit your answer to provide evidence in support of your proposition - e.g. add some published contemporary examples of this usage. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour :-) Feb 5, 2019 at 1:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.