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fess1

or fesse

[fes]
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noun Heraldry.
  1. an ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal band across the middle of an escutcheon.
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Origin of fess1

1350–1400; Middle English fesse < Anglo-FrenchLatin fascia fascia

fess2

[fes]
Verb Phrases
  1. fess up, Informal. to admit or concede, especially freely.
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Origin of fess2

First recorded in 1830–40; aphetic shortening of confess

fess3

or fes·sor

[fes or fes-er]
noun Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
  1. a teacher.
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Origin of fess3

shortening of professor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fess

fess

verb
  1. (intr foll by up) informal, mainly US to make a confession
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Word Origin

C19: shortened from confess
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fess

v.

shortened form of confess, attested by 1840, American English. Related: Fessed; fesses; fessing.

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n.

"white horizontal band across an escutcheon," late 15c., from Old French faisce, from Latin fascia (see fasces).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper