or con·fess·er

[ kuh n-fes-er ]
/ kənˈfɛs ər /


a person who confesses.
a priest authorized to hear confessions.
a person who confesses faith in and adheres to the Christian religion, especially in spite of persecution and torture but without suffering martyrdom.
the Confessor. Edward the Confessor.


Nearby words

  1. confessionalism,
  2. confessionalist,
  3. confessionary,
  4. confessions,
  5. confessions of an english opium eater,
  6. confetti,
  7. confidant,
  8. confidante,
  9. confide,
  10. confidence

Origin of confessor

before 1000; Middle English, Old English (in pl: confessores) < Late Latin; see confess, -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for confessor

British Dictionary definitions for confessor


/ (kənˈfɛsə) /


Christianity, mainly RC Church a priest who hears confessions and sometimes acts as a spiritual counsellor
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
a person who makes a confession
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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper