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or fesse

[fes] /fɛs/
noun, Heraldry.
an ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal band across the middle of an escutcheon.
Origin of fess1
1350-1400; Middle English fesse < Anglo-FrenchLatin fascia fascia


[fes] /fɛs/
Verb phrases
fess up, Informal. to admit or concede, especially freely.
1830-40; aphetic shortening of confess


or fessor

[fes] /fɛs/
noun, Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
a teacher.
shortening of professor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fess
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The engraver has omitted the indenture upon the fess, which, however, appears upon the shield.

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
  • An' fess a loaf o' white breid; we canna bide for the parritch.'

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
  • Well, to 'fess up and tell you the truth, I got frightened out of my wits.

    Menticulture Horace Fletcher
  • In the base point on an escutcheon gu., a fess embattled arg.

  • The arms of Haseley of Suffolk are: "Argent, a fess gules, between three hazel-nuts or, stalks and leaves vert."

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
British Dictionary definitions for fess


(informal, mainly US) (intransitive) foll by up. to make a confession
Word Origin
C19: shortened from confess
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 fess

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fess


verb phrase

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+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for fess


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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