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confessor

or con·fess·er

[kuh n-fes-er]
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noun
  1. a person who confesses.
  2. a priest authorized to hear confessions.
  3. a person who confesses faith in and adheres to the Christian religion, especially in spite of persecution and torture but without suffering martyrdom.
  4. the Confessor. Edward the Confessor.
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Origin of confessor

before 1000; Middle English, Old English (in pl: confessores) < Late Latin; see confess, -tor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

priestmartyrsaint

Examples from the Web for confessor

Historical Examples

  • A confessor was sent for, and he bequeathed his kingdom to his son Henry.

    Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II

    Charlotte Mary Yonge

  • Meanwhile, the confessor had gained the palace of the Duke d' Uzeda.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • But for myself and the king's confessor, Philip would consent to thy ruin.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • In doing this she felt a peculiar inclination for her confessor.

  • In his view, God and the church are a sort of concrete centred in the confessor.


British Dictionary definitions for confessor

confessor

noun
  1. Christianity, mainly RC Church a priest who hears confessions and sometimes acts as a spiritual counsellor
  2. history a person who bears witness to his Christian religious faith by the holiness of his life, esp in resisting threats or danger, but does not suffer martyrdom
  3. a person who makes a confession
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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 confessor

n.

late Old English, "one who avows his religion," especially in the face of danger, but does not suffer martyrdom, from Latin confessor, agent noun from confiteri (see confess). Meaning "one who hears confessions" is from mid-14c.; this properly would be Latin confessarius, but Latin confessor was being used in this sense from the 9th century.

Edward the Confessor (c.1003-1066, canonized 1161), last Anglo-Saxon king, was pious enough but does not seem to fit his title; perhaps so called to distinguish him from another Anglo-Saxon saint/king, Edward the Martyr, who does fit his.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper