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verb con·fess \kən-ˈfes\

Simple Definition of confess

  • : to admit that you did something wrong or illegal

  • : to talk about or admit something that makes you embarrassed, ashamed, etc.

  • : to tell (your sins) to God or to a priest

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of confess

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to tell or make known (as something wrong or damaging to oneself) :  admit <he confessed his guilt>

  3. 2 a :  to acknowledge (sin) to God or to a priest b :  to receive the confession of (a penitent)

  4. 3 :  to declare faith in or adherence to :  profess

  5. 4 :  to give evidence of

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 a :  to disclose one's faults; specifically :  to unburden one's sins or the state of one's conscience to God or to a priest b :  to hear a confession

  8. 2 :  admit, own <confess to a crime>

confessable play \-ˈfe-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of confess in a sentence

  1. He confessed after being questioned for many hours.

  2. He willingly confessed his crime.

  3. I have to confess that I was afraid at first.

  4. I confessed my sins to the priest.

Origin of confess

Middle English, from Anglo-French confesser, from confés having confessed, from Latin confessus, past participle of confitēri to confess, from com- + fatēri to confess; akin to Latin fari to speak — more at ban

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of confess

acknowledge, admit, own, avow, confess mean to disclose against one's will or inclination. acknowledge implies the disclosing of something that has been or might be concealed <acknowledged an earlier peccadillo>. admit implies reluctance to disclose, grant, or concede and refers usually to facts rather than their implications <admitted the project was over budget>. own implies acknowledging something in close relation to oneself <must own I know little about computers>. avow implies boldly declaring, often in the face of hostility, what one might be expected to be silent about <avowed that he was a revolutionary>. confess may apply to an admission of a weakness, failure, omission, or guilt <confessed a weakness for sweets>.

CONFESS Defined for Kids


verb con·fess \kən-ˈfes\

Definition of confess for Students


  1. 1 :  to tell of doing something wrong or illegal or of something embarrassing :  admit <confessed to the crime> <confessed being jealous>

  2. 2 :  to admit committing sins to God or to a priest

Law Dictionary


transitive verb con·fess \kən-ˈfes\

Legal Definition of confess

  1. :  to admit (as a charge or allegation) as true, proven, or valid <unless you answer, the petition shall be taken as confessed>

  2. intransitive verb
  3. :  to make a confession

confessor \kən-ˈfe-sər\ play noun

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