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 confessed

Contemporary Examples of confessed

Historical Examples of confessed

  • Percival confessed to his mother that night that he had wronged Uncle Peter.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He confessed to me that he was apt to go astray when intent on rhyme.

    Biographical Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • She was studying her material; and it must be confessed that they startled her not a little.

  • What would the knight have said had he confessed to his love for the Lady Maude?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It must be confessed (he adds drily) that in England this is a lifelong disqualification.

British Dictionary definitions for confessed


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 confessed

"self-acknowledged," 1560s, past participle adjective from 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