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shortened form of confess, attested by 1840, American English. Related: Fessed; fesses; fessing.
"white horizontal band across an escutcheon," late 15c., from Old French faisce, from Latin fascia (see fasces).
To confess; admit the truth: Then why doesn't the judge come clean and fess up?/ He finally fessed up to something that I've known a long time (1840+)