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

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In a follow-up interview with Colorado law enforcement, Watts confesses for the first time to killing his daughters. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Christopher Watts murder investigation: Timeline of the high-profile Colorado case," 11 Aug. 2019 Leal confessed that Tomas upped the ante from $35 per trip to $5,000, if Leal agreed to smuggle money or people across the border into the US. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Drug traffickers are recruiting smugglers on Facebook," 1 Aug. 2019 The CEOs of two fast-growing tech companies, PagerDuty and Intuit, confessed on the stage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech in Aspen, Colo. to a shared obsession—with understanding customer pain points. Verne Kopytoff, Fortune, "Leading By Obsession: Two Tech CEOs Share Their Secrets," 17 July 2019 The gunman who killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs in November once confessed on video to having anger issues and a lack of self-control. Silvia Foster-frau And Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Sutherland Springs gunman recorded video years ago predicting future 'mistakes'," 22 May 2018 Authorities said Earnest, who lived in Rancho Penasquitos with his parents and was studyingnursing at Cal State San Marcos, confessed to both the shooting and the arson fire in an online manifesto posted prior to the synagogue shooting. Pomerado News, "Judge: Chabad attack search warrant to be unsealed," 25 July 2019 When Floyd Landis eventually confessed, in an epic e-mail to the USADA, and serious investigations began, Vaughters made his riders available to testify, with no fear of repercussions. Bill Gifford, Outside Online, "Jonathan Vaughters Goes Deep into Cycling’s Dirty Past," 24 July 2019 Employees listened to eight short audio clips of people recounting real-life situations in which Starbucks employees confessed to prejudging customers. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "What actually happens in bias training seminars?," 11 June 2019 In separate interviews, the Ingrams confessed to downloading and saving child pornography, according to a news release from the attorney general's office. Domingo Ramirez Jr., star-telegram, "Texas father arrested one day, next day his son - both accused of having child porn | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 17 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about confess

Statistics for confess

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confess

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on confess

What made you want to look up confess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!