con·​fes·​sion | \ kən-ˈfe-shən How to pronounce confession (audio) \

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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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 The result is not a portrait, but a dialogue, and Holliday’s responses alternate with bewildering speed between vulnerable confession through tears—crocodile and real—and melodramatic soliloquy through laughter–hysterical and vindictive. Sarah Cowan, The New York Review of Books, "The Complicated Camera of Filmmaker Shirley Clarke," 10 Oct. 2020 Now comes a confession: There’s a certain haughtiness with which the Vikings carry themselves that has inspired overreactions to failure from a share of Twin Cities sportswriters. Star Tribune, "Packers were waiting to pounce before Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson," 2 Oct. 2020 The man told a bishop during a confession as a child. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "Lawsuit: Catholic priest abused children in Indigenous, rural communities in Arizona," 1 Oct. 2020 Within hours, Wolf had signed a confession admitting to the bombing. oregonlive, "‘Sex slave’ murder case rocked Portland 65 years ago: Car bombing led to ‘8 months of hell’ for suspect Marjorie Smith," 1 Oct. 2020 Under Sharia law, a voluntary confession is binding, according to court papers. Eoin Mcsweeney And Stephanie Busari, CNN, "The WhatsApp voice note that led to a death sentence," 29 Sep. 2020 Still, the courts chose not to believe Stoeckley's confession: To this day, MacDonald remains incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. Joyce Chen,, "A Wilderness of Error’s Woman in The Floppy Hat, Explained," 26 Sep. 2020 Even the official who threw the flag seemed to offer Jackson an apology on the field, a confession the Bears safety Tweeted about after Sunday’s game. Dan Wiederer,, "Chicago Bears Week 3 storylines: Eddie Jackson’s score-first mentality, a tribute to Gale Sayers and the sting of another Falcons collapse," 25 Sep. 2020 Milke was convicted largely on the basis of her confession to Phoenix Detective Armando Saldate. Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic, "Judge threatens to dismiss Debra Milke's wrongful conviction suit over claims she destroyed and hid evidence," 18 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for confession

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

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Statistics for confession

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confession.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce confession (audio)

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 How to pronounce confession (audio) \

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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