verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Origin of confess

1300–50; Middle English confessen < Anglo-French, Old French confesser < Medieval Latin confessāre, verbal derivative of Latin confessus, past participle of confitērī to admit, confess, equivalent to con- con- + -fitērī, combining form of fatērī to admit
Related formscon·fess·a·ble, adjectivecon·fess·ingly, adverbhalf-con·fessed, adjectivepre·con·fess, verb (used with object)un·con·fessed, adjectiveun·con·fess·ing, adjective

Synonyms for confess

Synonym study

1. See acknowledge.

Antonyms for confess

1. conceal. 2. deny. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for confess

Contemporary Examples of confess

Historical Examples of confess

  • I confess, Eudora, it pained me to see you listen to his idle flattery.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • How is it possible for me to confess, when I tell you I know nothing about her?

  • To confess the strange truth, he never told me you were musical.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Out of your bed and down on your knees to your own blessed father, and confess your sins.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • It is not easy for an Anglo-Saxon to confess the realities of affection in vital intimacies.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for confess


verb (when tr, may take a clause as object)

(when intr, often foll by to) to make an acknowledgment or admission (of faults, misdeeds, crimes, etc)
(tr) to admit or grant to be true; concede
Christianity, mainly RC Church to declare (one's sins) to God or to a priest as his representative, so as to obtain pardon and absolution
Derived Formsconfessable, adjective

Word Origin for confess

C14: from Old French confesser, from Late Latin confessāre, from Latin confessus confessed, from confitērī to admit, from fatērī to acknowledge; related to Latin fārī to speak
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 confess

late 14c., from Old French confesser (transitive and intransitive), from Vulgar Latin *confessare, from Latin confess-, past participle stem of confiteri "to acknowledge," from com- "together" (see com-) + fateri "to admit," akin to fari "speak" (see fame (n.)).

Its original religious sense was of one who avows his religion in spite of persecution or danger but does not suffer martyrdom. Old French confesser thus had a figurative sense of "to harm, hurt, make suffer." Related: Confessed; confessing. An Old English word for it was andettan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper