• Confess


    • IPA: /kənˈfɛs/
    • Rhymes: -ɛs


    From Middle English confessen, from Anglo-Norman confesser, from Old French confesser, from Medieval Latin confessō ("I confess"), a derivative of Latin confessus (Old French confés), past participle of cōnfiteor ("I confess, I admit") from con- + fateor ("I admit"). Displaced Middle English andetten ("to confess, admit") (from Old English andettan).

    Full definition of confess


    1. (to admit to the truth) To admit to the truth, particularly in the context of sins or crimes committed.People confess to anything under torture.
      • ShakespeareI never gave it him. Send for him hither,
        And let him confess a truth.
      • MiltonAnd there confess
        Humbly our faults, and pardon beg.
      • AddisonI must confess I was most pleased with a beautiful prospect that none of them have mentioned.
    2. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
      • Bible, Matthew x. 32Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess, also, before my Father which is in heaven.
      • Bible, Acts xxiii. 8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
    3. (religion) To unburden (oneself) of sins to a priest, in order to receive absolution.
      • AddisonOur beautiful votary took an opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father.
    4. (religion) To hear or receive such a confession of sins from.
      • Ld. BernersHe ... heard mass, and the prince, his son, with him, and the most part of his company were confessed.
    5. (to disclose or reveal) To disclose or reveal.
      • Alexander PopeTall thriving trees confessed the fruitful mould.

    Derived terms

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