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 confessionalism (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nə-​ˌli-​ \ noun
confessionalist \ kən-​ˈfesh-​nə-​list How to pronounce confessionalist (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nə-​list \ noun
confessionally \ kən-​ˈfesh-​nə-​lē How to pronounce confessionally (audio) , -​ˈfe-​shə-​nᵊl-​ \ adverb

Examples of confessional in a Sentence


confessional interviews of famous actors

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pontikes first met Rossi in the confessional at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in December 2007. Nicole Winfield, Houston Chronicle, "Woman accuses Cardinal DiNardo of dismissing sex abuse case," 4 June 2019 Well the confessionals are long gone and the building has been transformed into a sleek tech headquarters. Aubrey Nagle,, "Thousands join Broad Street Run, grads get words of wisdom | Morning Newsletter," 7 May 2018 Jason Aldean has had spectacular personal highs and lows in the past several months, but don’t expect his latest album, Rearview Town — due out Friday — to be this cowboy’s confessional. Nancy Kruh,, "Jason Aldean Dedicates New Album to Las Vegas Victims: 'You Guys Will Forever Be in My Heart'," 13 Apr. 2018 Fans can participate by recording their own confessionals on Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Elton John and Husband David Furnish Tell 6LACK About Sending Each Other Weekly Love Letters for 25 Years," 26 Sep. 2018 Pope Francis leaving a confessional in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in 2015. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Australian Bishops Reject Reporting Sexual Abuse Revealed in Confession," 31 Aug. 2018 Just don't expect any interviews or confessionals from her. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Barely Makes an Appearance in the Queen of the World Documentary," 19 Sep. 2018 Soccer Mommy didn’t put on a fiery show, but Alison’s compelling confessionals, coolly sung over simple yet sticky guitar hooks, were magnetic. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The best of Summerfest Day 11: Cheap Trick, Anderson East, Boz Scaggs, Soccer Mommy & more," 8 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Pentagon, having spent 11 years using no-fly zones to maintain a balance of power between the Iraq’s confessional communities, knew how to avoid civil war in Iraq. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "We’re Surviving Trump Just Fine," 7 Sep. 2018 But thus far, Rachel's confessional commentary suggests that an adult is a good listener, honest and hard-working, open with his feelings, able to have fun, romantic, and willing to make the first move. Roxane Gay, Marie Claire, "Of All Things, It's 'The Bachelorette' That's Fighting Toxic Masculinity in 2017," 7 June 2017 Unlike Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, who soared to success in the late 1960s with confessional hardship songs from the hills and hollows, Ms. Gentry’s two-steppers revealed little about her. Marc Myers, WSJ, "‘Bobbie Gentry: The Girl From Chickasaw County—The Complete Capitol Masters’ Review: A Country Talent, Fully Recognized," 25 Sep. 2018 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

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

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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behavior toward others

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