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

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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 But for Stephen Semprevivo, a father who confessed to paying Singer $400,000 to sneak his son in to Georgetown, the government used the larger dollar figure to boost his sentencing range under the guidelines to 21 to 27 months. Los Angeles Times, "In college admissions scandal a judge must decide: Does it matter how much parents paid?," 10 Sep. 2019 The charity was associated with Rick Singer, who confessed to helping wealthy parents cheat on standardized tests for their children. Rob Frehse And Julian Cummings, CNN, "Eva Longoria and other celebrities write letters of support for actress Felicity Huffman ahead of her sentencing," 6 Sep. 2019 Detectives reportedly interviewed the three suspects who subsequently confessed to burglarizing vehicles in the Willow Creek Farms subdivision, said Diaz. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Police credit resident for arrests of Willow Creek Farms burglary suspects," 15 Aug. 2019 The Dodge County Sheriff's Office found a suspect who confessed to sending the threats. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A juvenile threatened to blow up the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Beaver Dam, police say," 11 Aug. 2019 In 1991, police in Milwaukee arrested Jeffrey Dahmer, who later confessed to murdering 17 men and boys (Dahmer ended up being beaten to death by a fellow prison inmate). BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 22 July 2019 But the case was reopened by District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. in 2012, and Pedro Hernandez, a former bodega stock clerk who confessed to luring Etan into a basement and attacking him, was found guilty in 2017 of kidnapping and murdering the boy. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Robert Morgenthau, Longtime Manhattan District Attorney, Dies at 99," 21 July 2019 Lash eventually tracks down and apprehends the man who drove away the night his team followed the wrong car—an Idaho resident named Robert Halligan who confesses to pilfering the decoy shed. Mike Koshmrl, National Geographic, "What it takes to catch antler thieves," 19 July 2019 For example, police say the shooter suspected of killing 22 people at an El Paso Walmart confessed to targeting people of Mexican descent and is believed to have written an anti-Hispanic rant before gunning down mostly Latino shoppers. Amanda Seitz, Fortune, "False Claims Blur Line Between Mass Shootings, 2020 Politics," 5 Sep. 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

27 Oct 2019

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
How to pronounce confess (audio)

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
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for confess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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