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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce confess (audio)

Dictionary definition of confess

To admit or acknowledge something, typically something that is considered to be wrong or a source of guilt.
"The band wanted to confess that they lip-synced during their live performance."

Detailed meaning of confess

Confession is often associated with religion, where it is the act of admitting one's sins to a priest or spiritual leader, but it can also be used in a secular sense. Confession can be either oral or written, and it can be done voluntarily or under duress.

In legal contexts, a confession is a statement made by an accused person admitting their guilt in a crime. A confession can be used as evidence in court and can be used to establish a person's guilt. However, false confessions can also occur, especially when the person is coerced, threatened or under duress.

Confession can also refer to the act of admitting or revealing something that is private or personal, such as a secret or a personal feeling. This kind of confession can be a cathartic or healing experience, but it can also be associated with vulnerability and a sense of exposure.

In general, the term implies that there is an admission or acknowledgement of something, often something that is considered to be wrong or guilty, and that can have consequences whether legal, moral or emotional.

Example sentences containing confess

1. I must confess, I have always admired your work.
2. The detective urged the suspect to confess to the crime.
3. If you did something wrong, it's best to confess immediately.
4. When she looked into his eyes, she felt an urge to confess her feelings.
5. The author wanted to confess that the book was partially autobiographical.
6. Students often confess that they find the subject challenging.

History and etymology of confess

The verb 'confess' has its etymological origins in Latin. It is derived from the Latin word 'confiteri,' which combines 'con-' meaning 'together' and 'fateri,' meaning 'to acknowledge' or 'to admit.' Thus, 'confess' originally conveyed the idea of acknowledging something together, often in the context of religious confession or admission of guilt. Over time, this term was adopted into English to describe the act of admitting or acknowledging something, particularly something that is considered to be wrong or a source of guilt. The etymology of 'confess' underscores its historical association with the act of acknowledging one's actions, whether in a religious or moral sense, emphasizing the significance of honesty and acknowledgment, especially in matters of conscience and wrongdoing.

Quiz: Find the meaning of confess

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Further usage examples of confess

1. He did not confess, despite the mounting evidence against him.
2. Will you confess if someone confronts you about the incident?
3. The characters in the play confess their deepest secrets in the final act.
4. The teacher insisted that the person responsible for the mess confess.
5. In the movie, the protagonist chose to confess to save his friend.
6. They decided it was time to confess their involvement in the scheme.
7. The politician refused to confess to any wrongdoing during the scandal.
8. I have to confess, your homemade cookies are the best I’ve ever tasted.
9. If you confess your mistake, people are likely to be more forgiving.
10. The therapist suggested that confessing might help lift the weight off her shoulders.
11. In court, the judge will give you an opportunity to confess before the verdict.
12. Sometimes it's easier to confess in writing than face-to-face.
13. The group decided to confess collectively to show solidarity.
14. He confessed to stealing the money from the cash register.


admit, deny, disclaim, repudiate


TOEFL 14, Acknowledgment and Acceptance, Clarify and Elucidate, Truth and Honesty

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