or fesse

[ fes ]

  1. an ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal band across the middle of an escutcheon.

Origin of fess

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English fes(se), veece, fesshe, from Old French, ultimately from Latin fascia fascia

Words Nearby fess

Other definitions for fess (2 of 3)

[ fes ]

Verb Phrases
  1. fess up, Informal. to admit or concede, especially freely.

Origin of fess

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; shortening of confess

Other definitions for fess (3 of 3)

[ fes ]

nounChiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
  1. a teacher.

Origin of fess

First recorded in 1905–10; shortening of professor
  • Also fes·sor [fes-er] /ˈfɛs ər/ .

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fess in a sentence

  • Ensigned on the top as before all betwixt a decrescent and a star in fess or.

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry | Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
  • That's easy enough to say, McLean; but ten to one you've got some snap picked out for you already, now 'fess up, ain't you?

  • If wed done something perfectly mean and putrid Id say fess up and take the medicine, but we havent.

    Left Half Harmon | Ralph Henry Barbour
  • I have seen an imperfect drawing of the arms, Party per fess, a goblet transpierced with a dagger.

  • Of course I thought that maybe Id ought to fess up that I wasnt meor, rather, youand let some one else kick.

    The Turner Twins | Ralph Henry Barbour

British Dictionary definitions for fess


/ (fɛs) /

  1. (intr foll by up) informal, mainly US to make a confession

Origin of fess

C19: shortened from confess

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