[kuh n-fesh-uh-nl]


of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or based on confession: confessional release.


the place set apart for the hearing of confessions by a priest.
French Furniture. a high, upholstered wing chair of the 18th century.

Origin of confessional

1590–1600; < Medieval Latin confessiōnāle, neuter of confessiōnālis (adj.); see confession, -al1; in def. 2, 3 < French < Medieval Latin
Related formspseu·do·con·fes·sion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for confessional

Contemporary Examples of confessional

Historical Examples of confessional

  • She still saw the dress of the penitent who was at the confessional near the entrance.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • It was the priest who came out from the confessional of Saint Joseph and shut the door after him.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Well, perhaps I had better not ask, for this is no confessional, is it?

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • We'll screen off a corner for our Professor—sort of confessional business.

  • Shall I not hasten' to lay bare my heart before you—the priest of its confessional?

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for confessional



of, like, or suited to a confession


Christianity, mainly RC Church a small stall, usually enclosed and divided by a screen or curtain, where a priest hears confessions
a book of penitential prayers
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 confessional

"place where a priest sits to hear confession," 1727, from French confessional, from Medieval Latin confessionale, noun use of neuter of confessionalis (adj.), from confiteri (see confess).


"pertaining to confession," mid-15c., from Medieval Latin confessionalis (see confessional (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper