Definition of confessional in English:


Line breaks: con|fes|sion¦al
Pronunciation: /kənˈfɛʃ(ə)n(ə)l


  • 1An enclosed stall in a church divided by a screen or curtain in which a priest sits to hear confessions: the secrets of the confessional
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    • 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 acknowledgement that one has done something shameful or embarrassing; a confession: tabloid confessionals
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    • 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?).


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  • 1(Of speech or writing) in which a person reveals private thoughts or admits to past incidents, especially ones about which they feel ashamed or embarrassed: the autobiography is remarkably confessional his confessional outpourings
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    • 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
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    • 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
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    • 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.



More example sentences
  • I am not writing therapeutically or confessionally.
  • The failure to implement policies intended to undermine confessionally based political power have curtailed that hope.
  • The shift to resistance theory was confessionally driven and was a ‘British’ and French Huguenot development.


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).

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