con·fes·sion | \kən-ˈfe-shən \

Definition of confession 

1a : an act of confessing especially : a disclosure of one's sins in the sacrament of reconciliation

b : a session for the confessing of sins go to confession

2 : a statement of what is confessed: such as

a : a written or oral acknowledgment of guilt by a party accused of an offense

b : a formal statement of religious beliefs : creed the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran Church

3 : an organized religious body having a common creed

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Synonyms & Antonyms for confession


acknowledgment (or acknowledgement), admission, avowal, concession


disavowal, nonadmission

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Examples of confession in a Sentence

She went to the police station and made a full confession. I have a confession to make: I have never done this before. The priest will hear confessions after mass today. I haven't gone to confession in three years.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Because of rules against double jeopardy, the pair — who have since died — were never tried again, despite their confession of guilt. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 Amy Karozos, the Indiana Public Defender Council attorney who argued the case on behalf of the 13-year-old, said the court decision protects children who are more prone to bow to pressure or give a false confession. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Supreme Court rules that students are entitled to Miranda warnings," 21 June 2018 Indeed if the formal rules strictly applied, and communion was never allowed except after a full confession, virtually no Catholic in America would be participating in the Eucharist at all. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Pope Francis Isn’t Catholicism’s Trump," 20 Apr. 2018 Hamm gave police a confession and he was convicted after two accomplices testified against him in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to lesser offenses, according to court documents. CBS News, "Alabama inmate endured "torture" during botched execution, attorney says," 5 Mar. 2018 The third section, also set near Limerick, is the confession of John, an elderly accountant and lobbyist. Margot Livesey,, "Braiding lives of a Syrian refugee, a failed 23-year-old, and elderly accountant," 13 July 2018 As in the case of Instagram celebrity Hojabri, Iranian TV did not show the faces of the individuals making the confessions. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Iranian women are posting videos of themselves dancing in support of arrested Instagram star," 9 July 2018 Based on the confession and informant testimony, a judge convicted him and sentenced him to death on May 10. Hamza Hendawi, Fox News, "A neighbor's word can bring death sentence in Iraq IS trials," 9 July 2018 Pilkington's attorneys have argued the confession should be tossed after their experts concluded Pilkington has brain damage and a low IQ. CBS News, "Woman charged with killing 3 sons appeals court order," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confession.' 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 confession

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for confession

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

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More Definitions for confession



English Language Learners Definition of confession

: a written or spoken statement in which you say that you have done something wrong or committed a crime

: the act of telling people something that makes you embarrassed, ashamed, etc.

: the act of telling your sins to God or to a priest


con·fes·sion | \kən-ˈfe-shən \

Kids Definition of confession

1 : an act of telling of sins or wrong, illegal, or embarrassing acts

2 : a written or spoken admission of guilt of a crime



Legal Definition of confession 

1 : an act of confessing

2 : an acknowledgment of a fact or allegation as true or proven especially : a written or oral statement by an accused party acknowledging the party's guilt (as by admitting commission of a crime) — compare admission, declaration against interest at declaration, self-incrimination

Note: Courts differ on how a confession establishes the accused's guilt; for example, in some jurisdictions the confession has to establish all the necessary elements of the crime. In order to be admissible as evidence, a confession must be voluntary. A guilty plea is considered a judicial confession.

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Comments on confession

What made you want to look up confession? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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