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[fes] /fɛs/
Verb phrases
fess up, Informal. to admit or concede, especially freely.
Origin of fess2
1830-40; aphetic shortening of confess Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fess up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, to 'fess up and tell you the truth, I got frightened out of my wits.

    Menticulture Horace Fletcher
  • You are not suspected, but you will be if you don't 'fess up.

    In the Onyx Lobby Carolyn Wells
  • "Oh, I'd 'fess up," she said lightly, playing with her food.

    The Palace of Darkened Windows Mary Hastings Bradley
  • That's easy enough to say, McLean; but ten to one you've got some snap picked out for you already, now 'fess up, ain't you?

  • Finally, Ill go to Joe and fess up ifif you say so, he gulped.

    The Turner Twins Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for fess up


(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 up



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 up


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 up


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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