Definition of confess in English:


Syllabification: con·fess
Pronunciation: /kənˈfes


[reporting verb]
1Admit or state that one has committed a crime or is at fault in some way: [with clause]: he confessed that he had attacked the old man [no object]: he wants to confess to Caroline’s murder [with direct speech]: “I damaged your car,” she confessed [with object]: once apprehended, they would confess their guilt
More example sentences
  • Lash a few beers into them though and they become braggers of the highest order and will admit and confess to the crimes they have committed.
  • In developing countries, nearly 60 per cent of the people who confess to committing crimes are innocent, as they do so to escape torture.
  • They were and are still being tortured to confess to crimes they did not commit.
admit, acknowledge, reveal, disclose, divulge, avow, declare, profess;
own up, tell all
own up, plead guilty, accept the blame;
tell the truth, tell all, make a clean breast of it
1.1Admit or acknowledge something reluctantly, typically because one feels slightly ashamed or embarrassed: [with clause]: I must confess that I was slightly surprised [no object]: he confessed to a lifelong passion for food [with direct speech]: “I needed to see you, too,” he confessed
More example sentences
  • When we had come home tonight, I had reluctantly confessed to my two siblings that I really didn't want to sleep alone in my room.
  • In a survey of 1000 adults, almost half confessed to using texts to avoid ‘conversational niceties’.
  • More than half of people quizzed confessed to avoiding wines whose names they could not pronounce.
1.2 [with object] Declare (one’s religious faith): 150 people confessed faith in Christ
More example sentences
  • The son of a Jewish rabbi who moved to Berlin to serve the Reform Congregation, he himself confessed no religious faith as an adult.
  • With art but little transgressive argument, she makes the purpose (to confess her faith) concrete.
  • Hands are not to be laid on a deacon who has been imprisoned for confessing the faith, says the text; he is a presbyter by that fact.
1.3Declare one’s sins formally to a priest: [with object]: I could not confess all my sins to the priest [no object]: he gave himself up after confessing to a priest
More example sentences
  • She believed that when she confessed her sins to the priest that she was in fact confessing to God who was listening and could forgive her for those sins.
  • The priest unseen, behind the partition asks, ‘Do you have any sins to confess my son?’
  • I'm not a priest do not confess your sins and transgressions to me.
1.4 [with object] (Of a priest) hear the confession of (someone): St. Ambrose would weep bitter tears when confessing a sinner
More example sentences
  • He observes that there are a number of confessions that are particularly curious - one being that the high priest confesses the sins of his family, all of the Kohanim, and the entire Jewish People.
  • Here, bound hand and foot they were thrown into an old wooden house; a priest confessed them, and he solemnly declared that they were innocent of the crime for which they suffered.
  • After a short homily, the priest confessed her in the presence of the villagers and sentenced her to an annual pilgrimage to Chartres.


late Middle English: from Old French confesser, from Latin confessus, past participle of confiteri 'acknowledge', from con- (expressing intensive force) + fateri 'declare, avow'.

Definition of confess in: