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 When Marie retreats to a church for confession, Ajay follows, and later snitches on her to Charles. Jean Bentley,, "R29 Recaps: Every Episode From Netflix’s The Serpent," 6 Apr. 2021 These days, the Central Park Five, all of whom served extensive prison time, have been rechristened the Exonerated Five after a 2002 confession from the actual rapist enabled the men to clear their names. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Grave injustice becomes fiction in YA from one of the exonerated Central Park Five," 6 Apr. 2021 Terry’s confession to and arrest for the 1963 murder of Clegg led to investigators uncovering a series of creepy coincidences between his crimes and those of the Boston Strangler. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: From Maine to the O.C.," 2 Apr. 2021 But clergy members are also exempt from this if they were told in confidence or as a confession. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, "Lawsuit accuses Tucson priests of sexually abusing minors decades ago in southern Arizona," 31 Mar. 2021 The singer and guitarist Julien Baker makes raw, ghostly rock music that’s rooted in personal confession. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Julien Baker’s Songs of Addiction and Redemption," 22 Feb. 2021 But with no forensic evidence, no confession, no weapon and no eyewitnesses implicating Jeff, prosecutors declined to charge him for the murders until 2002, 13 years after the murders. Chris O'connell, CBS News, "A lifelong friendship rekindled through tragedy," 15 Aug. 2020 Early in the first episode of Q: Into the Storm, the filmmaker Cullen Hoback makes a confession. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Whom Is the New QAnon Docuseries For?," 21 Mar. 2021 Many would also go to confession at the same time, boosting the numbers for the two practices. The Salt Lake Tribune, "How will we worship — whether Catholic, LDS, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Protestant — after COVID?," 20 Mar. 2021

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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confession.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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