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[kuh n-fesh-uh n] /kənˈfɛʃ ən/
acknowledgment; avowal; admission:
a confession of incompetence.
acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, especially to a priest to obtain absolution.
something that is confessed.
a formal, usually written, acknowledgment of guilt by a person accused of a crime.
Also called confession of faith. a formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership.
the tomb of a martyr or confessor or the altar or shrine connected with it.
1350-1400; < Latin confessiōn- (stem of confessiō), equivalent to confess- (see confess) + -iōn- -ion; replacing Middle English confessioun < Anglo-French
Related forms
preconfession, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for confession
  • My students and friends will be surprised by this confession.
  • The confession has triggered a flurry of articles in official newspapers about the dam's deficiencies.
  • Pretty much at random, according to a videotaped confession from one of its members.
  • And let me make a confession here that part of this is good old-fashioned jealousy.
  • The court concluded that his confession had been forced.
  • Sturgeon has not been arrested in connection to his confession.
  • They have about as much validity as a confession forced out through waterboarding.
  • Investigators seem to have denied him help in an effort to extract a confession.
  • Better still for trustbusters, one successful case often begets another confession.
  • Indeed to me, a confession is only when you own up to something voluntarily.
British Dictionary definitions for confession


the act of confessing
something confessed
an acknowledgment or declaration, esp of one's faults, misdeeds, or crimes
(Christianity, mainly RC Church) the act of a penitent accusing himself or herself of his or her sins
confession of faith, a formal public avowal of religious beliefs
a religious denomination or sect united by a common system of beliefs
Derived Forms
confessionary, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for confession

late 14c., "action of confessing," originally in religion, from Old French confession (10c.), from Latin confessionem (nominative confessio) "confession, acknowledgement," noun of action from past participle stem of confiteri (see confess). In law, from 1570s. Meaning "that which is confessed" is mid-15c. An Old English word for it was andettung, also scriftspræc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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confession in Culture

confession definition

In some churches, notably the Roman Catholic Church, a sacrament in which repentant sinners individually or as a group privately confess their sins in front of a priest and receive absolution from the guilt of their sins.

In the first few centuries of Christianity, repentant sinners were assigned public penances: sinners had to stay outside the entrance of the church and ask the people going inside to pray for them. The period of public penance could be shortened through an indulgence.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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confession in the Bible

(1) An open profession of faith (Luke 12:8). (2.) An acknowledment of sins to God (Lev. 16:21; Ezra 9:5-15; Dan. 9:3-12), and to a neighbour whom we have wronged (James 5:16; Matt. 18:15).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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