American English

Definition of confess verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they confess
    he / she / it confesses
    past simple confessed
    -ing form confessing
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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.
  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 Thesaurusadmitacknowledge 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 (somewhat 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 (somewhat 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 someone admits something, they are usually agreeing that something that is generally considered bad or wrong is true or has happened, especially when it relates to their own actions. When someone concedes something, they are usually accepting, unwillingly, that a particular fact or statement is true or logical.confess (somewhat 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
  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 someone confess their sins (= the bad things they have done)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: confess