• synonyms


or fesse

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noun Heraldry.
  1. an ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal band across the middle of an escutcheon.

Origin of fess1

1350–1400; Middle English fesse < Anglo-FrenchLatin fascia fascia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fesse

Historical Examples

  • The Pakingtons of Worcester quarter Ermine on a fesse componé or, and az.

    Shakespeare's Family

    Mrs. C. C. Stopes

  • His seal bore on a shield a fesse chequy between two roundels.

    Shakespeare's Family

    Mrs. C. C. Stopes

  • A term in use for a fesse, bar, or chevron when embattled on both edges.

  • "vert, three eagles displayed on a fesse, or," on his book-plate.

  • The pale is like the fesse, except that its direction is perpendicular.

British Dictionary definitions for fesse



  1. heraldry an ordinary consisting of a horizontal band across a shield, conventionally occupying a third of its length and being wider than a bar

Word Origin

C15: from Anglo-French fesse, from Latin fascia band, fillet


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

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 fesse



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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper