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

Ever since Jennifer Lopez confessed her (very relatable) obsession with Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper on Ellen, the internet has been shipping the duo's newfound friendship—and possible design partnership. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "People Are Straight-Up Panicking Over Those Photos of Joanna Gaines and Jennifer Lopez," 5 Mar. 2019 Initially wanted as an eyewitness, Cary was confronted by police in July of 1999, and ended up confessing to all four murders. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story Behind Cary Stayner's Murders and His Brother Steven's Legacy," 25 Jan. 2019 Rodriguez said that one suspect's confession implicates the Chilean Embassy, and several others have confessed to being trained across the border in Colombia. Fox News, "Venezuela says diplomats may be tied to assassination try," 24 Sep. 2018 Leverett had reportedly confessed to another member of his church months earlier. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Connecticut man arrested in 2014 murder of mother of 2 after he reportedly confesses to murder," 24 Sep. 2018 Years before his longrunning role on NCIS, Mark Harmon was seen on television screens across America in 1986 as serial killer Ted Bundy, who confessed to 30 homicides committed between 1974 and 1978. PEOPLE.com, "Serial Killers Who Inspired Haunting Hollywood Portrayals," 12 July 2018 The move is a noteworthy one for Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian clan, who famously confessed to getting lips fillers on a 2015 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Says No to Lip Filler on Instagram—and Yes to a Bold New Look," 9 July 2018 And the Mottas take on the star witness, Cecilia Hoffmann, who Garcia had allegedly confessed to? CBS News, "Was revenge the motive behind Omaha stabbing deaths?," 2 June 2018 The 2007 state appeal featured a deposition of Otis Jackson, a man who, on three separate occasions, confessed to the crime for which Al-Amin is imprisoned. Obaid H. Siddiqui, The Root, "The Unofficial Gag Order of Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown): 16 Years in Prison, Still Not Allowed to Speak," 30 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.

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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

17 Mar 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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