Green’s Dictionary of Slang

con-man n.

[con v. (1)]

1. (US) a flatterer.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 139: He was a pretty good con man, and he nailed me for that positively last and final appearance.

2. (orig. US, also con guy, con player, con-woman) a confidence trickster [later use is SE].

[US]Portland Mercury 29 June 1/7: It does not take an unsophisticated countryman to get swindled by the ‘con man’ [DA].
[US]J. Hawthorne Confessions of Convict 143: She’s one of the best ‘con-women’ in the world.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 95: De con man and come-on.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 79: ‘[H]e couldn’t tell a con guy from a hodcarrier’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 72: [He is] only a con-man what couldn’t lick nobody.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Dead Yellow Women’ Story Omnibus (1966) 160: In 1908 Conyers appeared on the Pacific coast [...] in company with a con man known as ‘Duster’ Hughes.
[UK]N. Lucas London and its Criminals 32: Madge Carson, one of the smartest ‘con’ women (confidence tricksters) in England.
[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 20/8: The men who worry the police most are the ‘whizz’ or ‘con.’ men.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 50: Not a bad con-man in her own way when he came to weigh it up. She had let him make the running, and suggest the dough himself.
[UK]News of the World 11 June 7: An expert ‘con’ man, with a criminal career, under seven aliases, dating back to 1905, has returned to penal servitude.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 10: Though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 42: There was a con-man called Morgan in my place last night.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 34: He entreats the con player to take him there, not just direct him.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 92: Con-men are not much liked in the underworld.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 191: The body of a forty-two-year-old hustler and con man.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 6 Aug. 6: Having been bamboozled by a con-man on his doorstep.
[US]Mad mag. Jan. 10: I hate street hustlers, pushers [and] con men.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 36: Jacob was a con man who spent most of his life on the lam.
[US]G. Phillips ‘Slicers’ Serenade of Steel’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] Sally Sincyr, a con woman who specialized in the grieving niece bit.
[US]Rolling Stone 14 Oct. [Internet] Egged on to a doomed rebellion by a third-rate con man who wilted under pressure.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 357: A rangy bashful shock-haired Denver boy with a big conman smile.

4. (US) a former convict.

[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 203: Con man [...] ex-convict.