con·​fes·​sion·​al | \ kən-ˈfesh-nəl How to pronounce confessional (audio) , -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 How to pronounce confessional (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nə-​ˌli-​ \ noun
confessionalist \ kən-​ˈfesh-​nə-​list How to pronounce confessional (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nə-​list \ noun
confessionally \ kən-​ˈfesh-​nə-​lē How to pronounce confessional (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nᵊl-​ \ adverb

Examples of confessional in a Sentence

Adjective confessional interviews of famous actors
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shah leaves the event and, in a confessional, accuses Cosby of being a racist. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Is Culturally Sensitive Trash," 8 Feb. 2021 The door to the wine cellar is a carved church confessional. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Lifetime collection of architectural antiques are built into Ann Arbor home," 23 Jan. 2021 Noah says in his confessional that the other guys have been mean to him because of his bold moves on the group date in the previous episode. Lia Beck,, "Bachelorette Season 16, Episode 7 Recap: Welcome To The Real World," 24 Nov. 2020 The conversation takes place just days before Tchaikovsky’s alleged suicide and their conversation becomes an open confessional where Tchaikovsky explains his life story through words and music. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: San Diego Rep’s ‘Tchaikovsky’ breaks new ground for Felder and streaming theater," 21 Dec. 2020 Some scholars consider much of her work confessional, based on or inspired by events in her own life, and unsparingly direct. James Hookway, WSJ, "American Poet Louise Glück Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature," 8 Oct. 2020 Later, [while] filming a confessional, production yelled at me for not playing the game in front of the cameras, which was true. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Tyler Fredrickson on that time Jeff Probst bowed down to a jury," 7 Oct. 2020 In a confessional, Denise claimed that Brandi could have had altered their text messages. Natalie Stone,, "Denise Richards Suggests Brandi Glanville's Texts Are Fake on RHOBH Finale: 'This Is Slanderous'," 26 Aug. 2020 Later, Nikki reads aloud a few excerpts in a confessional. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Pauly D Reads Nikki's 'Scary' Love Letter on Double Shot at Love: 'It's Too Much Pressure'," 6 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Casual, confessional and playful, TikTok offers a release for ballet dancers, particularly students, who spend their days chasing impossible perfection. New York Times, "On Ballet TikTok, a Place for Young Dancers to Be Real," 5 Feb. 2021 The brilliant comedian presents a skewed version of her own life balancing parenthood with working as an actress, and the result is as confessional, hysterical, and daring as any comedy of the modern era. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best TV Shows on Hulu Right Now," 1 Feb. 2021 Among her students in the early 1990s was the writer Maggie Nelson, whom Dr. Crosby advised on her honors thesis on confessional poetry. New York Times, "Christina Crosby, 67, Dies; Feminist Scholar Wrote of Becoming Disabled," 26 Jan. 2021 Kahmora is quick with a clapback, and served up some quite memorable confessional moments. Paul Mccallion, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Tamisha Said I Had Potential," 15 Jan. 2021 Her characteristic long paragraphs and simple sentences create a confessional effect. Lauren Oyler, Harpers Magazine, "Reality Under My Skin," 5 Jan. 2021 Americans in business, the media and the arts now issue confessional statements without knowing exactly what their offense was. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Covid Has Killed the Apology," 23 Dec. 2020 What seems like a conversation between an anxious old man and very young children becomes confessional—a relief to him to be able to tell these stories without interruption and sort of make sense of his life. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Paul Theroux on Making Sense of One’s Life," 30 Nov. 2020 But even after his tragic death from an accidental overdose at 21 in December 2019, Juice hovers like a lighthouse by flashing glimpses of hope amidst bleak confessional ballads to his listeners. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 20 Best Rap Albums of 2020: Staff Picks," 10 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for confessional

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The first known use of confessional was in 1684

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Statistics for confessional

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confessional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of confessional for Spanish Speakers

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

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