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 That secrecy is necessary to make a penitent feel free to confess his or her wrongdoing and seek forgiveness. Arizona Republic, "Bisbee man confesses he's molesting his daughter. Church tells bishop not to report abuse to authorities," 21 Apr. 2020 Doctors call to confess while huddling in hospital corridors, trying to contain their emotions. USA Today, "Heartbreak, prayer and mourning: US leads world in coronavirus deaths after deadliest week," 15 Apr. 2020 So yet again, our voices are crying out in the wilderness for a miracle to save America from its original sin—the sin Americans can’t ever seem to confess. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Nothing will be the same after the coronavirus pandemic," 14 Apr. 2020 Samuel Little gets convicted in 2012 for the murders of three women, only to later confess to almost 95 murders of mostly Black womxn at the end of the decade. Faylita Hicks, Longreads, "The Danger of Desire," 2 Apr. 2020 And devout Catholics queue up to confess their sins to priests on parish lawns — from six feet away, of course. Helen Wieffering, Austin Fast And Agya K. Aning, azcentral, "For people of all faiths, church goes on, online or in solitude," 29 Mar. 2020 View this post on Instagram Looks like someone needs to confess... Jasmine Vaughn-hall, refinery29.com, "The Gilmore Girls Instagram Kick Started A Fan Theory That A New Season Is Coming," 8 Mar. 2020 In transcripts from the interviews with Davis' girlfriend in 1999, which were posted by the Northern California Innocence Project, an organization that was working to free Davis, a detective appears to urge her to confess. Ella Torres, ABC News, "DNA helps free innocent California man who spent 15 years in prison for murder," 14 Feb. 2020 Three guards are said to have confessed to playing a role. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Mexican inmates who escaped prison linked to 'El Chapo', may have had help from guards," 31 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for confess

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for confess

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confess. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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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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