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confessor

[kuh n-fes-er] /kənˈfɛs ər/
noun
1.
a person who confesses.
2.
a priest authorized to hear confessions.
3.
a person who confesses faith in and adheres to the Christian religion, especially in spite of persecution and torture but without suffering martyrdom.
4.
the Confessor, Edward the Confessor.
Also, confesser.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English, Old English (in pl: confessores) < Late Latin; see confess, -tor
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for the con-fessor

confessor

/kənˈfɛsə/
noun
1.
(Christianity, mainly RC Church) a priest who hears confessions and sometimes acts as a spiritual counsellor
2.
(history) a person who bears witness to his Christian religious faith by the holiness of his life, esp in resisting threats or danger, but does not suffer martyrdom
3.
a person who makes a confession
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for the con-fessor

confessor

n.

late Old English, "one who avows his religion," especially in the face of danger, but does not suffer martyrdom, from Latin confessor, agent noun from confiteri (see confess). Meaning "one who hears confessions" is from mid-14c.; this properly would be Latin confessarius, but Latin confessor was being used in this sense from the 9th century.

Edward the Confessor (c.1003-1066, canonized 1161), last Anglo-Saxon king, was pious enough but does not seem to fit his title; perhaps so called to distinguish him from another Anglo-Saxon saint/king, Edward the Martyr, who does fit his.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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