Definition of confessional in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈfeSH(ə)n(ə)l/


1An enclosed stall in a church divided by a screen or curtain in which a priest sits to hear people confess their sins.
Example sentences
  • And there were a good many other sequences planned for the picture which are not there, including her visit to a confessional in the Catholic church - without words, nothing was ever said.
  • ‘I came here for meaning,’ Gavin says to the priest in the confessional.
  • The priest will then assign a ‘penance’, which usually consists of a few prayers to say in the church after leaving the confessional.
2An admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about; a confession.
Example sentences
  • His lyrics read like tabloid confessionals, offering glimpses into a celebrity's life.
  • In these days of tabloid confessionals and celebrity magazines, the sound of rock stars complaining about their lot has become a familiar one.
  • It seals its fate with private camera confessionals, team challenges, and the mandatory hot tub (why must there always be a hot tub?).


1(Especially of speech or writing) in which a person reveals or admits to private thoughts or past incidents, especially ones that cause shame or embarrassment: the autobiography is remarkably confessional his confessional outpourings
More example sentences
  • Anyhow, it's not a surprise that so many of the examples of this kind are in confessional writing about relationship problems.
  • By confusing the public and the private, today's confessional culture undermines the idea of the ‘public interest’.
  • And the evidence of that confession, or confessional statement, was admitted without objection?
1.1Relating to religious confession: the priest leaned forward in his best confessional manner
More example sentences
  • With great scholarly skill, he shows how centuries-old Orthodox religious philosophy and rituals resembled the penitent, confessional modes employed in the Soviet era.
  • Usually once the ‘penitent’, that is, the person going to confession, closes the confessional door, he or she kneels down on a kneeler, or in the case of someone who is elderly or has another reason for doing so, he or she sits down.
  • But I did not know until later that our Baptist forefathers had found that wonderful document to be a helpful guide in formulating our early confessional statements.
2Relating to confessions of faith or doctrinal systems: the confessional approach to religious education
More example sentences
  • When theological professors and pastors abandon the biblical and confessional doctrine of justification, they sacrifice the gospel and the souls of men.
  • He was an unashamed confessional Calvinist in an age of doctrinal indifferentism.
  • Christian doctrine identifies the rules by which Christians use confessional language to define the social world that they indwell.


Late Middle English (as an adjective): the adjective from confession + -al; the noun via French from Italian confessionale, from medieval Latin, neuter of confessionalis, from Latin confessio(n-), from confiteri 'acknowledge' (see confess).

Words that rhyme with confessional

congressional, expressional, impressional, obsessional, processional, professional, progressional, recessional, secessional, sessional, successional
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