con·fes·sion·al | \kən-ˈfesh-nəl, -ˈfe-shə-nᵊl\

Definition of confessional 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a place where a priest hears confessions

2 : the practice of confessing to a priest



Definition of confessional (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a confession especially of faith

2a : intimately autobiographical confessional fiction

b : characterized by unguarded openness or self-revelation We live in a confessional culture, provoked by social media and the internet and the warmth of the human impulse to share and … commiserate.— Megan Garber

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Other Words from confessional


confessionalism \kən-ˈfesh-nə-ˌli-zəm, -ˈfe-shə-nə-ˌli- \ noun
confessionalist \kən-ˈfesh-nə-list, -ˈfe-shə-nə-list \ noun
confessionally \kən-ˈfesh-nə-lē, -ˈfe-shə-nᵊl- \ adverb

Examples of confessional in a Sentence


confessional interviews of famous actors

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But his critics viewed his confessional as a cynical attempt to preempt allegations that may have been coming his way. Stephanie Ebbert,, "Junot Díaz case may be a #MeToo turning point," 30 June 2018 At Tribal Council, Wendell gives one of the great burn confessionals of all time. Stephen Fishbach,, "Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Thrilling Merge Brings Strategy, Drama & Questionable Rapping," 11 Apr. 2018 The confessionals in this place must be standing room only. Martin Brennan, New York Times, "Review: Sinfulness and Scares Behind ‘The Devil’s Doorway’," 12 July 2018 All that raw confessional candor can take its toll, though. John Adamian,, "Britney Spears, Tory Lanez, Kimya Dawson: Seven Concert Highlights," 7 July 2018 Faid, 46, is an avid fan of caper films, the author of a confessional book about his life of crime — and a serial robber of banks and armored trucks. Fox News, "Drones buzzed French prison months before spectacular escape," 2 July 2018 Before there were seagulls, sisters, orchards or late-night vodka confessionals, there was Anton Chekhov’s 1887 play about a superfluous man torn between his tubercular wife and his landowner’s daughter. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "9 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 7 June 2018 Tonight, both Dom and Chris tried to take out the other in a thrilling episode of Survivor filled with strategy, drama, bad rapping, and hilarious confessionals. Stephen Fishbach,, "Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: A Thrilling Merge Brings Strategy, Drama & Questionable Rapping," 11 Apr. 2018 The same can be said for Beyoncé and Jay-Z's lush joint album Everything Is Love, the finale in a trilogy that includes the raucous confessional Lemonade and the more laissez-faire 4:44. Ira Madison Iii, GQ, "Everything Is Love Review: The Cost of a Monarchy," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Having prepared the ingredients for an epic, Mr. Gessen has fashioned another work of narrow confessional realism that trucks in mundane observations and rueful ironies—something that feels, unfortunately, very American indeed. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Young and Privileged and Perpetually at Sea," 5 July 2018 In fact, with its confessional tone and commentary on the American Dream in the President George W. Bush era, American Life is easily one of Madonna’s better lyrical outings. Chuck Arnold, Billboard, "Madonna's 'American Life': Revisiting the Divisive Album 15 Years Later," 21 Apr. 2018 Tamblyn has a natural ear for colloquial writing, and the strongest parts of the novel belong to Pear and Jamar, two of Maude’s victims who speak in a direct, confessional style. Steph Cha, USA TODAY, "Amber Tamblyn takes on rape culture (with a daring twist) in debut novel, 'Any Man'," 26 June 2018 The detachment of his vision, at odds with the confessional impulse of poems in the 1990s, brought something new and different to American verse. Wesley Mcnair,, "A life of love, poetry — and the Red Sox," 24 June 2018 And, of course, there was the confessional moment in which Monáe opened up to the world after dropping her latest album, Dirty Computer. Cameron Glover, Allure, "On Janelle Monáe and the Power of Representation for Queer Black Girls," 21 June 2018 This important trilogy, then, through its eloquent polyphony of voices and opinions, arrives at an idea of feminist art in opposition to the confessional mode that has long been in ascendance. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The Monologues of Friends and Strangers," 1 June 2018 There’s a distinct lack of melodrama or confessional detail, the self-pity or regret that accompany a broken romance or a broken life. Greg Kot,, "Neko Case stomps the terra with the powerful ‘Hell-On’," 1 June 2018 The songs display a vulnerable yet resilient side to Sewell, exhibited by his powerful vocals and confessional lyrics. Bryan Kress, Billboard, "Conrad Sewell Comes 'Clean' on Two New Tracks: Exclusive," 17 May 2018

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


1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for confessional

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for confessional

The first known use of confessional was in 1684

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More Definitions for confessional



English Language Learners Definition of confessional

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a private place inside a church where a priest hears confessions



English Language Learners Definition of confessional (Entry 2 of 2)

: telling private information about a person's life

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More from Merriam-Webster on confessional

Spanish Central: Translation of confessional

Nglish: Translation of confessional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confessional for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about confessional

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evasion of direct action or statement

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