There are 2 main definitions of fess in English:

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fess 1

Syllabification: fess
(also fesse)


An ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal stripe across the middle of the shield.
Example sentences
  • The family arms were; ‘Argent, a fess between six crosslets fitchee sable.’
  • Fess, bend, chevron and pall describes the way the shield is divided and division can depend on the metals, colors and objects within it.
  • A checkered band of blue and silver (called 'fess') is placed across the center of the shield and this is taken from the Arms of Stewart to denote descent from that family.


in fess
Heraldry Across the middle third of the field.
Example sentences
  • Two or more charges arranged in a horizontal row are blazoned in fess.
  • On Gawsworth church tower this shield has, in addition, two lozenges in fess.


Late 15th century: from Old French fesse, alteration of faisse, from Latin fascia 'band'. Compare with fascia.

Words that rhyme with fess

acquiesce, address, assess, Bess, bless, bouillabaisse, caress, cess, chess, coalesce, compress, confess, convalesce, cress, deliquesce, digress, dress, duchesse, duress, effervesce, effloresce, evanesce, excess, express, finesse, fluoresce, guess, Hesse, impress, incandesce, intumesce, jess, largesse, less, manageress, mess, ness, noblesse, obsess, oppress, outguess, phosphoresce, politesse, possess, press, priestess, princess, process, profess, progress, prophetess, regress, retrogress, stress, success, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, tress, tristesse, underdress, vicomtesse, yes
Definition of fess in:
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There are 2 main definitions of fess in English:

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fess 2 Syllabification: fess


[no object] (fess up) informal
Confess; own up: “Fess up,” she demanded. “What were you doing in Peter’s private office?”
More example sentences
  • The format may have remained the same - with weekly tasks, shopping budgets, fessing up in the diary room, and nominations for eviction - but the contestants have become acutely aware that nothing they do or say is really private.
  • Anyway, I think it's time I stop apologizing and instead start fessing up, with like, really unabashed, reckless, so-not-indie abandon.
  • In that column, he went on at length about how the petroleum industry's bad because it encourages car dependency and other unsustainable practices, without fessing up to his own complicity in car culture.


Early 19th century: shortening of confess.

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