confess

verb
con·​fess | \ kən-ˈfes How to pronounce confess (audio) \
confessed; confessing; confesses

Definition of confess

transitive verb

1 : to tell or make known (something, such as something wrong or damaging to oneself) : admit he confessed his guilt
2a : to acknowledge (sin) to God or to a priest
b : to receive the confession of (a penitent)
3 : to declare faith in or adherence to : profess
4 : to give evidence of Breeze, bird, and flower confess the hour …— Sir Walter Scott

intransitive verb

1a : 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
2 : admit, own confess to a crime

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Other Words from confess

confessable \ kən-​ˈfe-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce confessable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for confess

Synonyms

admit, cop (to) [slang], fess (up), own (up)

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of confess in a Sentence

He confessed after being questioned for many hours. He willingly confessed his crime. I have to confess that I was afraid at first. I confessed my sins to the priest.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Under questioning by police, Brehmer confessed to the murder for money plot, according to court documents. NBC News, "Alaska teen allegedly solicited by man to kill her friend, send him videos for $9 million," 19 June 2019 In the police station, Wharton confessed to six of the robberies. Matthew Van Meter, The New Republic, "The Judge and the Three-Strikes Convict," 17 June 2019 Jones confessed to the crime, but testified during the trial that his confession was a lie. Robert Rhoden, nola.com, "Former Causeway cop gets 4 years in prison for stealing guns, cash and drugs," 14 June 2019 Facts freed the Central Park Five In 2002, a serial rapist named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "This court filing shows the staggering lack of evidence in the Central Park Five case," 12 June 2019 One of our in-laws recently confessed about a long-term affair. Dear Abby, oregonlive.com, "Dear Abby: How insensitive do you have to be to ignore your child’s mother on Mother’s Day?," 10 June 2019 Meanwhile, serial killer Robert Pickton confessed to killing 49 women, many of them indigenous, on his pig farm outside Vancouver. Eric Ogden, Marie Claire, "The Invisible Victims," 10 June 2019 One of our in-laws recently confessed about a long-term affair. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Man is stunned by delayed grief over loss of his wife," 10 June 2019 One of the deadliest serial killers in U.S. history confessed last month from a California prison to killing two Cincinnati women, according to Julie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Serial killer who strangled dozens of women confesses to killing two Cincinnati victims," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confess

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for confess

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confess

The first known use of confess was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for confess

confess

verb

English Language Learners 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

confess

verb
con·​fess | \ kən-ˈfes How to pronounce confess (audio) \
confessed; confessing

Kids Definition of confess

1 : to tell of doing something wrong or illegal or of something embarrassing : admit confessed to the crime confessed being jealous
2 : to admit committing sins to God or to a priest

confess

transitive verb
con·​fess | \ kən-ˈfes How to pronounce confess (audio) \

Legal Definition of confess

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

intransitive verb

: to make a confession

Other Words from confess

confessor \ kən-​ˈfe-​sər How to pronounce confessor (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on confess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for confess

Spanish Central: Translation of confess

Nglish: Translation of confess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confess for Arabic Speakers

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