From Middle English confessen, from Anglo-Norman confesser, from Old French confesser, from 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). Doublet of confiteor.
confess (third-person singular simple present confesses, present participle confessing, simple past and past participle confessed)
- (intransitive, transitive) To admit to the truth, particularly in the context of sins or crimes committed.
- I confess to spray-painting all over that mural!
- I confess that I am a sinner.
c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
I never gave it him. Send for him hither, / And let him confess a truth.
1667, John Milton, “Book IX”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC:
And there confess / Humbly our faults, and pardon beg.
1705, J[oseph] Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], →OCLC:
I must confess I was most pleased with a beautiful prospect that none of them have mentioned.
- (transitive) To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Matthew 10:32:
Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess, also, before my Father which is in heaven.
- (religion) To unburden (oneself) of sins to God or a priest, in order to receive absolution.
1710 September 18 (Gregorian calendar), [Joseph Addison; Richard Steele et al.], “THURSDAY, September 7, 1710”, in The Spectator, number 1647; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, […], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC:
Our beautiful votary took an opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father.
- (religion) To hear or receive such a confession of sins from.
- 1523–1525, John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (translator), Froissart's Chronicles
- He […] heard mass, and the prince, his son, with him, and the most part of his company were confessed.
1867, W. K. Kelly, The Decameron: or ten day's entertainment of Boccaccio. A revised translation:
A jealous man confesses his wife under a priest's habit, who tells him that she is visited every night by a friar; […]
- (transitive) To disclose or reveal.
to admit to the truth
- Arabic: اِعْتَرَفَ (ar) (iʕtarafa)
- Egyptian Arabic: قر (ʔarr)
- Armenian: խոստովանել (hy) (xostovanel)
- Bulgarian: признавам (bg) (priznavam)
- Catalan: confessar (ca)
- Mandarin: 承認／承认 (zh) (chéngrèn), 懺悔／忏悔 (zh) (chànhuǐ), 供認／供认 (zh) (gòngrèn), 招認／招认 (zh) (zhāorèn), 坦白 (zh) (tǎnbái), 招供 (zh) (zhāogòng)
- Danish: bekende, tilstå
- Dutch: bekennen (nl)
- Esperanto: allasi, konfesi (eo)
- Finnish: tunnustaa (fi)
- French: avouer (fr), confesser (fr)
- Galician: confesar
- Georgian: გამოტყდომა (gamoṭq̇doma)
- German: gestehen (de), bekennen (de), verraten (de)
- Gothic: 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌷𐌰𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (andhaitan)
- Greek: εξομολογώ (el) (exomologó), ομολογώ (el) (omologó)
- Ancient: ὁμολογέω (homologéō)
- Hebrew: התוודה (hitvadá)
- Hiligaynon: tuad
- Hungarian: bevall (hu), kivall (hu), megvall (hu), vall (hu), beismer (hu)
- Ingrian: tunnustaa
- Irish: admhaigh
- Italian: confessare (it)
- Japanese: 認める (ja) (みとめる, mitomeru), 自白する (ja) (jihaku suru), 告白する (ja) (kokuhaku suru), 告解する (ja) (kokkai suru)
- Khmer: សារភាព (km) (saaphiəp)
- Korean: please add this translation if you can
- Latin: fateor, confiteor
- Maltese: qarr
- Maori: whāki
- Mongolian: улайх (mn) (ulajx), үнэнээ хэлэх (ünenee xelex)
- Norwegian: tilstå (no)
- Old English: andettan
- Polish: przyznawać się (pl) impf, przyznać się (pl) pf
- Portuguese: confessar (pt)
- Romanian: mărturisi (ro), spovedi (ro)
- Russian: созна́ться (ru) (soznátʹsja), призна́ться (ru) (priznátʹsja), пока́яться (ru) (pokájatʹsja), призна́ть (ru) (priznátʹ)
- Scottish Gaelic: aidich
- Spanish: confesar (es)
- Swedish: erkänna (sv), tillstå (sv)
- Tagalog: amin (tl) (aminin), kumpisal (tl) (magkumpisal) (to a Catholic priest), mangumpisal
- Thai: please add this translation if you can
- Turkish: itiraf etmek (tr)
- Vietnamese: thú nhận (vi) (首認)
to disclose everything to a Catholic priest