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

Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after another man confessed to the crime. NBC News, "Leading expert explains why you would falsely confess to a crime you did not commit," 6 Sep. 2019 Five Harlem teenagers were convicted in the Central Park case but had their convictions vacated years later after another man confessed to the rape. Colleen Long, Twin Cities, "US government will execute inmates for first time since 2003," 26 July 2019 Five Harlem teenagers were convicted in the Central Park case but had their convictions vacated years later after another man confessed to the rape. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. to resume executions for first time since 2003, starting in December with 5 inmates," 25 July 2019 Five Harlem teenagers were convicted in the Central Park case but had their convictions vacated years later after another man confessed to the rape. Anchorage Daily News, "US government will execute inmates for first time since 2003," 25 July 2019 Five Harlem teenagers were convicted in the Central Park case but had their convictions vacated years later after another man confessed to the rape. Colleen Long, The Denver Post, "U.S. death penalty: Federal government will execute inmates for first time since 2003," 25 July 2019 Authorities in the town of Pine Bluff are reviewing the death of 26-year-old Jolanda Jones after Samuel Little recently confessed to her killing. Fox News, "Convicted serial killer Samuel Little may be linked to death of Arkansas woman," 17 July 2019 Police found the body of a missing Texas woman in a bed frame in an Austin hotel room last week after her boyfriend confessed to killing her, according to police documents. Dallas News, "Slain woman's body found in bed frame in Texas hotel after boyfriend confesses, affidavit says," 14 July 2019 There convictions were later vacated when serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes confessed to the rape and assault, with DNA evidence corroborating his story. Joi-marie Mckenzie, Essence, "The Exonerated Five Get A Standing Ovation At The BET Awards 2019," 23 June 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

15 Sep 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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