Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To disclose (something damaging or inconvenient to oneself); admit. See Synonyms at acknowledge.
  • transitive v. To acknowledge belief or faith in; profess.
  • transitive v. To make known (one's sins) to God or to a priest.
  • transitive v. To hear the confession of (a penitent).
  • intransitive v. To admit or acknowledge something damaging or inconvenient to oneself: The suspect confessed to the crime.
  • intransitive v. To disclose one's sins to a priest.
  • intransitive v. To listen to a confession.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To admit to the truth, particularly in the context of sins or crimes committed
  • v. To disclose or reveal

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To make confession; to disclose sins or faults, or the state of the conscience.
  • intransitive v. To acknowledge; to admit; to concede.
  • transitive v. To make acknowledgment or avowal in a matter pertaining to one's self; to acknowledge, own, or admit, as a crime, a fault, a debt.
  • transitive v. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
  • transitive v. To admit as true; to assent to; to acknowledge, as after a previous doubt, denial, or concealment.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. To make known or acknowledge, as one's sins to a priest, in order to receive absolution; -- sometimes followed by the reflexive pronoun.
  • transitive v. To hear or receive such confession; -- said of a priest.
  • transitive v. To disclose or reveal, as an effect discloses its cause; to prove; to attest.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make avowal or admission of, as of a fault, a crime, a charge, a debt, or something that is against one's interest or reputation; own; acknowledge; avow.
  • Reflexively, to make an admission or an inculpatory statement concerning; acknowledge to be; specifically, acknowledge the sins or moral faults of, as in auricular confession to a priest: as, I confess myself in error or at fault.
  • Eccles., to receive the confession of; act as a confessor to.
  • To acknowledge as having a certain character or certain claims; recognize; own; avow; declare belief in.
  • To grant; admit; concede.
  • To reveal by circumstances; show by effect; disclose; prove; attest.
  • Synonyms Admit, Avow, etc. See acknowledge.
  • To make confession or avowal; disclose or admit a crime, fault, debt, etc.
  • Eccles., to make known one's sins or the state of one's conscience to a priest.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. confess to God in the presence of a priest, as in the Catholic faith
  • v. confess to a punishable or reprehensible deed, usually under pressure
  • v. admit (to a wrongdoing)

Etymologies

Middle English confessen, from Old French confesser, from Vulgar Latin *cōnfessāre, from Latin cōnfitērī, cōnfess- : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + fatērī, to admit; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English confessen, from Anglo-Norman confesser, from Old French confesser, from Medieval Latin confessāre, a derivative of Middle English confessus (Old French confes), past participle of confitērī "to confess, admit" from con- + fatērī ("to admit"). Displaced Middle English andetten "to confess, admit" (from Old English andettan). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One of my character traits, I must confess, is believing in extraordinary expectations ....

    Riggleman: Nats will make move by mid-'12

  • God also forgives those who earnestly seek him and truly confess from the heart concerning their sin.

    Sen. John Ensign resigns GOP leadership post

  • Aside from my weak lapse into theistic belief (which I confess is irrational and illogical), what have I written so far that would you disagree with, and why?

    Contentment

  • Me: Aside from my weak lapse into theistic belief (which I confess is irrational and illogical), what have I written so far that would you disagree with, and why? hrun: The part about that 'logical atheists' would have no basis on which to base their opposition to slavery.

    Contentment

  • Nobu whispers to Chiharu that waiting for Otani to take the initiative to confess is like fishing in a swimming pool.

    Lovely Complex ep 17 « Undercover

  • Of course my interest in comparative religions and theosophies might convince some folks I'm a few bricks short of the wall … all I will confess is that strange things tend to happen, all I hope to do when I sit down is catch some of the strangeness and share it.

    Temple: Incarnations preorder update

  • You are right though that Brown does get a high competence rating for the economy which I confess is a worry.

    Can I have that but in blue please

  • I confess is not an entirely resolved disquiet but there it is.

    Archive 2007-04-15

  • But the outcome obtained when both confess is worse for each than the outcome they would have obtained had both remained silent.

    Coyote Blog » 2005 » May

  • Part of my surprise at my own reaction, I confess, is that I was never a Mariah fan before.

    In Need of Recovery | PopPolitics.com

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