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

They were detained on Monday and have confessed to spying... David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Turkey Detains Two Men Suspected of Spying for U.A.E.," 19 Apr. 2019 Vidra has since confessed to the charges against him, police told WTAE. Josh Magness, kansascity, "Firefighter raped a teen, threatened to take 'all of the money' if she told, cops say," 2 July 2018 About 42% of those surveyed confessed to paying a credit card bill late. Ben Tobin, USA TODAY, "43M Americans mistakenly think carrying credit card balance improves credit scores: Survey," 2 July 2018 At Davis’ second trial, which resulted in a conviction, prosecutors had brought forward an inmate who claimed Davis confessed to him. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Judge declares mistrial Thursday in third Keith Davis Jr. trial," 21 June 2018 On Wednesday, the Saudi Royal Court said the anticorruption committee summoned 381 individuals to face indictments or testify and reached monetary settlements with 87 who confessed to charges presented to them. ... Rory Jones And Summer Said, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Closes Corruption Crackdown, Courts Investors," 30 Jan. 2019 Two men who confessed to killing Emmett, only after they had been acquitted by an all-white jury in Mississippi, are dead. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "U.S. Reopens Emmett Till Investigation, Almost 63 Years After His Murder," 12 July 2018 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

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

12 May 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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