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

The suspect, a Didi driver, was arrested on Saturday and confessed to raping and stabbing the victim before throwing her body off a cliff, police said. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Didi Halts Carpool Service Again in China After Passenger Killed," 26 Aug. 2018 He was taken into custody and confessed to the crime, Ternus said. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "A man who broke into an ‘escape room’ repeatedly called 911 when he couldn’t escape, police say," 12 July 2018 Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth has previously argued that such laws would simply dissuade guilty priests from confessing to child abuse. Adam Baidawi, New York Times, "Archbishop Philip Wilson Is Sentenced for Sexual Abuse Cover-Up in Australia," 2 July 2018 He was arrested Saturday at his home in Miami and confessed to the two killings, according to police. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Man accused in the deaths of two women is in the country illegally, officials say," 19 June 2018 William Rodriguez, 33, was taken into custody and confessed to participating in real-life target practice, sniping passersby from his car with a Cobra-brand tactical pistol crossbow, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. Martin Vassolo, miamiherald, "He fired a crossbow at people on the street, cops say. A victim found a bolt in his body," 7 June 2018 Veronica stops to help her and Midge's mom confesses to shooting Fangs. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Season 2 Episode 21: The Black Hood's Identity Was Probably Just Revealed," 10 May 2018 There were exceptions, but many confessed to craving and indulging in more carbs than usual, especially sugary sweets. Molly Kimball, NOLA.com, "Alcohol Free for 40 results: Lives impacted by challenge," 1 May 2018 Cruz, 19, was arrested shortly after the shooting and has confessed to being the gunman, court documents show. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Nikolas Cruz waives right to speedy trial," 27 Apr. 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

14 Apr 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

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!