confess vs profess what difference

what is difference between confess and profess

English

Etymology

From Middle English confessen, from Anglo-Norman confesser, from Old French confesser, from Medieval Latin confessō (I confess), a derivative of Latin confessus (Old French confés), past participle of cōnfiteor (I confess, I admit) from con- + fateor (I admit). Displaced Middle English andetten (to confess, admit) (from Old English andettan).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kənˈfɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs

Verb

confess (third-person singular simple present confesses, present participle confessing, simple past and past participle confessed)

  1. To admit to the truth, particularly in the context of sins or crimes committed.
    I confess to spray-painting all over that mural!
    I confess that I am a sinner.
    • I must confess I was most pleased with a beautiful prospect that none of them have mentioned.
  2. To acknowledge faith in; to profess belief in.
    • Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess, also, before my Father which is in heaven.
    • For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
  3. (religion) To unburden (oneself) of sins to God or a priest, in order to receive absolution.
    • Our beautiful votary took an opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father.
  4. (religion) To hear or receive such a confession of sins from.
    • 1523–1525, John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (translator), Froissart’s Chronicles
      He [] heard mass, and the prince, his son, with him, and the most part of his company were confessed.
  5. To disclose or reveal.

Derived terms

  • fess, fess up

Related terms

  • confession
  • confessional
  • confessor

Translations

See also

  • own up
  • come clean


English

Etymology

From Old French professer, and its source, the participle stem of Latin profitērī, from pro- + fatērī (to confess, acknowledge).

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹəˈfɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs

Verb

profess (third-person singular simple present professes, present participle professing, simple past and past participle professed)

  1. (transitive, chiefly passive) To administer the vows of a religious order to (someone); to admit to a religious order. [from 14th c.]
    • 2000, Butler’s Lives of the Saints, p.118:
      This swayed the balance decisively in Mary’s favour, and she was professed on 8 September 1578.
  2. (reflexive) To declare oneself (to be something). [from 16th c.]
    • 2011, Alex Needham, The Guardian, 9 Dec.:
      Kiefer professes himself amused by the fuss that ensued when he announced that he was buying the Mülheim-Kärlich reactor [].
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To declare; to assert, affirm. [from 16th c.]
    • c. 1604, William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, First Folio 1623:
      He professes to haue receiued no sinister measure from his Iudge, but most willingly humbles himselfe to the determination of Iustice [].
    • 1974, ‘The Kansas Kickbacks’, Time, 11 Feb 1974:
      The Governor immediately professed that he knew nothing about the incident.
  4. (transitive) To make a claim (to be something); to lay claim to (a given quality, feeling etc.), often with connotations of insincerity. [from 16th c.]
    • 2010, Hélène Mulholland, The Guardian, 28 Sep 2010:
      Ed Miliband professed ignorance of the comment when he was approached by the BBC later.
  5. (transitive) To declare one’s adherence to (a religion, deity, principle etc.). [from 16th c.]
    • 1983, Alexander Mcleish, The Frontier Peoples of India, Mittal Publications 1984, p.122:
      The remainder of the population, about two-thirds, belongs to the Mongolian race and professes Buddhism.
  6. (transitive) To work as a professor of; to teach. [from 16th c.]
  7. (transitive, now rare) To claim to have knowledge or understanding of (a given area of interest, subject matter). [from 16th c.]

Related terms

  • profession

Translations

Further reading

  • profess in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • profess in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

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