Definition of confess verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    confess

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//kənˈfes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfes//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they confess
    BrE BrE//kənˈfes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfes//
     
    he / she / it confesses
    BrE BrE//kənˈfesɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfesɪz//
     
    past simple confessed
    BrE BrE//kənˈfest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfest//
     
    past participle confessed
    BrE BrE//kənˈfest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfest//
     
    -ing form confessing
    BrE BrE//kənˈfesɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈfesɪŋ//
     
    Embarrassment, Solving crime
     
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to admit, especially formally or to the police, that you have done something wrong or illegal After hours of questioning, the suspect confessed. confess to something/to doing something She confessed to the murder. confess (that)… He confessed that he had stolen the money. confess something We persuaded her to confess her crime. See related entries: Solving crime
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to admit something that you feel ashamed or embarrassed about confess something She was reluctant to confess her ignorance. confess to something/to doing something I must confess to knowing nothing about computers. confess (that)… I confess (that) I know nothing about computers. + speech ‘I know nothing about them,’ he confessed. confess yourself + adj. (formal) I confess myself bewildered by their explanation. see also self-confessed Synonymsadmitacknowledge recognize concede confessThese words all mean to agree, often unwillingly, that something is true.admit to agree, often unwillingly, that something is true:It was a stupid thing to do, I admit.acknowledge (rather formal) to accept that something exists, is true or has happened:She refuses to acknowledge the need for reform.recognize to admit or be aware that something exists or is true:They recognized the need to take the problem seriously.concede (rather formal) to admit, often unwillingly, that something is true or logical:He was forced to concede (that) there might be difficulties.admit or concede?When somebody admits something, they are usually agreeing that something which is generally considered bad or wrong is true or has happened, especially when it relates to their own actions. When somebody concedes something, they are usually accepting, unwillingly, that a particular fact or statement is true or logical.confess (rather formal) to admit something that you feel ashamed or embarrassed about:She was reluctant to confess her ignorance.Patterns to admit/​acknowledge/​recognize/​concede/​confess that… to admit/​confess to something to admit/​concede/​confess something to somebody to admit/​acknowledge/​recognize the truth to admit/​confess your mistakes/​ignorance See related entries: Embarrassment
  3. 3 [intransitive, transitive] confess (something) (to somebody) (especially in the Roman Catholic Church) to tell God or a priest about the bad things you have done so that you can say that you are sorry and be forgiven
  4. 4 [transitive] confess somebody (of a priest) to hear somebody confess their sins (= the bad things they have done)
  5. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French confesser, from Latin confessus, past participle of confiteri ‘acknowledge’, from con- (expressing intensive force) + fateri ‘declare, avow’.Extra examples I must confess that I didn’t have much faith in her ideas. She confessed to me that she had known his true identity for some time. I must confess to knowing nothing about computers. They had confessed their sins and done their penance.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: confess