confess

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English confessen, from Anglo-Norman confesser, from Old French confesser, from Medieval Latin confessō (I confess), a derivative of Latin confessus (Old French confés), past participle of cōnfiteor (I confess, I admit) from con- + fateor (I admit). Displaced Middle English andetten (to confess, admit) (from Old English andettan).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /kənˈfɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs

Verb[edit]

confess (third-person singular simple present confesses, present participle confessing, simple past and past participle confessed)

  1. To admit to the truth, particularly in the context of sins or crimes committed.
    I confess to spray-painting all over that mural!
    I confess, that I am a sinner.
    • (Can we date this quote by William Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      I never gave it him. Send for him hither, / And let him confess a truth.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Milton and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      And there confess / Humbly our faults, and pardon beg.
    • (Can we date this quote by Addison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      I must confess I was most pleased with a beautiful prospect that none of them have mentioned.
  2. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Matthew x. 32
      Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess, also, before my Father which is in heaven.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Acts xxiii. 8
      For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
  3. (religion) To unburden (oneself) of sins to God or a priest, in order to receive absolution.
    • (Can we date this quote by Addison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Our beautiful votary took an opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father.
  4. (religion) To hear or receive such a confession of sins from.
  5. To disclose or reveal.
    • (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Tall thriving trees confessed the fruitful mould.

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