Confess Con*fess", v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Confessed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Confessing}.] [F. confesser, fr. L. confessus, p. p. of confiteri to confess; con- + fateri to confess; akin to fari to speak. See 2d {Ban}, {Fame}.] 1. 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. [1913 Webster]

And there confess Humbly our faults, and pardon beg. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

I must confess I was most pleased with a beautiful prospect that none of them have mentioned. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

2. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in. [1913 Webster]

Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess, also, before my Father which is in heaven. --Matt. x. 32. [1913 Webster]

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. --Acts xxiii. 8. [1913 Webster]

3. To admit as true; to assent to; to acknowledge, as after a previous doubt, denial, or concealment. [1913 Webster]

I never gave it him. Send for him hither, And let him confess a truth. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

As I confess it needs must be. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

As an actor confessed without rival to shine. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]

4. (Eccl.) (a) To make known or acknowledge, as one's sins to a priest, in order to receive absolution; -- sometimes followed by the reflexive pronoun. [1913 Webster]

Our beautiful votary took an opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father. --Addison. (b) To hear or receive such confession; -- said of a priest. [1913 Webster]

He . . . heard mass, and the prince, his son, with him, and the most part of his company were confessed. --Ld. Berners. [1913 Webster]

5. To disclose or reveal, as an effect discloses its cause; to prove; to attest. [1913 Webster]

Tall thriving trees confessed the fruitful mold. --Pope.

Syn: Admit; grant; concede; avow; own; assent; recognize; prove; exhibit; attest.

Usage: {To Confess}, {Acknowledge}, {Avow}. Acknowledge is opposed to conceal. We acknowledge what we feel must or ought to be made known. (See {Acknowledge}.) Avow is opposed to withhold. We avow when we make an open and public declaration, as against obloquy or opposition; as, to avow one's principles; to avow one's participation in some act. Confess is opposed to deny. We confess (in the ordinary sense of the word) what we feel to have been wrong; as, to confess one's errors or faults. We sometimes use confess and acknowledge when there is no admission of our being in the wrong; as, this, I confess, is my opinion; I acknowledge I have always thought so; but in these cases we mean simply to imply that others may perhaps think us in the wrong, and hence we use the words by way of deference to their opinions. It was in this way that the early Christians were led to use the Latin confiteor and confessio fidei to denote the public declaration of their faith in Christianity; and hence the corresponding use in English of the verb confess and the noun confession. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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