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

Adjective confessional interviews of famous actors
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Set up like a reality show, equipped with confessionals, bizarre roommate situations, and (faux) drama, the series peppers in a bunch of hilarious sketches in between the comics’ reality TV life. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "This Sketch From 'Astronomy Club' Is Like A Funny PSA For Protecting Your Edges," 24 Dec. 2019 The blurring feels appropriate at a time when confessional Instagram captions often double as ad copy. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "Natasha Stagg Has No Illusions," 28 Oct. 2019 Some want a secular parliament in which MPs are individually elected, rather than through confessional lists, as under the current system. The Economist, "Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, steps down," 29 Oct. 2019 Lebanon's multi-confessional makeup has meant that protesters have usually organized around sectarian lines. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Thousands demonstrate in Lebanon despite crackdown on protesters," 19 Oct. 2019 Eddie reportedly said in a confessional in reference to Vieth. Natalie Stone,, "RHOC's Eddie Judge Says 'Reality TV Is Not Reality' as He Defends Comments About Tamra's Son," 20 Nov. 2019 Kim tearfully opened up to a producer during one of her private confessionals and the producer interrupted her — a rare fourth-wall-breaking moment for the competition show. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, ""Survivor" addresses sexual harassment after contestant accused of "inappropriate touching"," 14 Nov. 2019 In this era of corporate unease, over everything from the next recession to climate change, executives are lining up at the confessional. The Economist, "Schumpeter Rethinking McKinsey," 21 Nov. 2019 And after decades of being pitted against one another, people across Lebanon's confessional divide appear to have now banded together to rise up against sectarian overlords. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Burning tires, brides and 'Baby Shark.' What you need to know about protests engulfing Lebanon," 21 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Elizabeth Wurtzel The controversial author of Prozac Nation — who popularized confessional-style memoirs and opened up the national conversation around depression — died on Jan. 7 at the age of 52. Sophie Dodd,, "Remembering the Stars We've Lost in 2020," 17 Jan. 2020 In her same confessional style, Wurtzel wrote about her battle with cancer in The New York Times. TheWeek, "Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, dies at 52," 8 Jan. 2020 The book divided critics but is credited with opening up a national dialogue about depression, and signaled a new era of confessional memoirs. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of "Prozac Nation," dies at 52," 7 Jan. 2020 The Vatican has offered its own entries, including a confessional app, as well as a pope-centric app. NBC News, "The Catholic rosary got a digital upgrade — but it's a mixed blessing," 31 Dec. 2019 Those patiently waiting were certainly not disappointed: with confessional lyrics and frank discussions of dating as a lesbian, Expectations lifted Kiyoko up from her station as an underappreciated pop singer to her new position as Lesbian Jesus. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best LGBTQ Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks," 22 Nov. 2019 Some particularly effective dialogue is undercut with confessional asides that the conversation actually unfolded a different way — a lazy shortcut to expressing difficult truths. Philip Brandes, Los Angeles Times, "Review: At Boston Court Pasadena, cracks in broken hearts are ‘How the Light Gets In’," 4 Oct. 2019 Review:Ariana Grande's 'thank u, next' is her best, most confessional album yet Grande's manager, Scooter Braun, met her backstage after the show to give her a hug. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Ariana Grande says a tearful goodbye to her 'Sweetener' world tour, drops her first live album," 23 Dec. 2019 In an age of confessional interviews and social media oversharing, the 22-year-old Jackson and his family are attempting something nearly as audacious as his runs on the field. Childs Walker,, "How Lamar Jackson used more than talent to rise from the fields of South Florida: ‘He continued to work’," 25 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of confessional was in 1684

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Statistics for confessional

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confessional.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for confessional


How to pronounce confessional (audio)

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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Comments on confessional

What made you want to look up confessional? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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