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.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈfɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


confess (third-person singular simple present confesses, present participle confessing, simple past and past participle confessed)

  1. 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.
  2. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
  3. (religion) To unburden (oneself) of sins to God or a priest, in order to receive absolution.
  4. (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[1]:
      A jealous man confesses his wife under a priest's habit, who tells him that she is visited every night by a friar; []
  5. To disclose or reveal.

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