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con·​fes·​sion·​al kən-ˈfesh-nəl How to pronounce confessional (audio)
: a place where a priest hears confessions
: the practice of confessing to a priest


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: of, relating to, or being a confession especially of faith
: intimately autobiographical
confessional fiction
: 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
kən-ˈfesh-nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce confessional (audio)
kən-ˈfesh-nə-list How to pronounce confessional (audio)
kən-ˈfesh-nə-lē How to pronounce confessional (audio)

Examples of confessional in a Sentence

Adjective confessional interviews of famous actors
Recent Examples on the Web
In a confessional, Khloé elaborates on her fear of whales, sharing that her daughter True, 5, seems to have no sympathy. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 28 Sep. 2023 She can be seen forging ahead with the holiday and cooking with son Gabe, 21, who later appears in a confessional with Savanah, 18, and Garrison, 24, to open up about their relationship with their dad. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2023 What kept fans talking in the lobby, though, were Nas’s confessionals about coming out. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 Neeson continued, noting that there were older women just outside the confessional, praying on their knees, as he was being yelled at. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 25 Aug. 2023 In a joint confessional, Danielle continued to be frustrated with Adam. Kelly Martinez, Peoplemag, 16 Aug. 2023 In a confessional, Khloé further elaborated on the state of their relationship. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 28 July 2023 Advertisement The conference itself is a blend of religious and conservative orthodoxy, with speeches from figures such as Pence interspersed with masses in the sunshine and courtyard confessionals. Faith E. Pinho, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2023 As the montage continues, the episode cuts to a confessional. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 14 July 2023
By Elizabeth Logan With a confessional docuseries like this, there’s always the possibility that the women are still being presented in the best possible light. Dina Gachman, Glamour, 27 Sep. 2023 So his initial vision for the project — of the character who became James Savage standing on a Texas road with a vampire in his trunk — would gradually become one with confessional notes, nodding to everything from Nelson’s relationship history to his faith. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 In a confessional interview, a female participant cringes while reacting to the conditions of their stay. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2023 Even though the show has morphed into something more nuanced than the confessional tone of the original incarnation, the thing that makes Cooper such a successful podcaster — her willingness to bare all, or at least give the impression of doing so — is still deeply embedded in its DNA. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 19 Sep. 2023 His work, like that of others before him, exhibits how the medium lends itself to confessional, reflective writing and how spaces in between panels offer inventive opportunities to find clarity about the trickier questions of life. Kay Sohini, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 Kirsch is joined in this episode by Harper’s deputy editor Jon Baskin to discuss how Smith’s historical fiction operates within this literary lineage, why autofiction came to succeed the confessional memoirs of the Nineties, and what the novel form can do for us. Adam Kirsch, Harper's Magazine, 13 Sep. 2023 Love Is Blind’s Shake Chatterjee asks in a confessional interview. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 7 Sep. 2023 That enigmatic gift now gets to sparkle in the light of the stage, in a revival off-Broadway of John Patrick Shanley’s 1983 confessional drama. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'confessional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably borrowed from French confessional (short for chaire confessionale, siège confessional, literally, "confessional seat"), noun derivative of confessional, adjective, "constituting or used for a confession," borrowed from Medieval Latin confessiōnālis, from Latin confessiōn-, confessiō confession + -ālis -al entry 1


borrowed from Medieval Latin confessiōnālis "constituting or used for a confession" — more at confessional entry 1

First Known Use


1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of confessional was in 1684

Dictionary Entries Near confessional

Cite this Entry

“Confessional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the enclosed place in which a priest sits and hears confessions
: the practice of confessing to a priest

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