As almost everybody knows, the verb "confess" means "to admit", especially to the police, that you have done something wrong or illegal.

But, Longman Dictionary says:

In everyday English, people usually say admit rather than confess: I know it was him – he admitted it. I admit I’m not very good with money. Source

Now, I was wondering which choice sounds naturally idiomatic in the example below:

  • I know you have an affair with her Samuel. .............

a. Confess!
b. Admit it!

Prior to reading this register, I used to simply say: "Confess!" But now, I think it is something more related to legislative atmosphere than everyday speech.

Please kindly make me aware about it.

  • 1
    In this context either seems equally good to me.
    – Peter
    Dec 16, 2020 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


"Confess" is very formal, and as well as usage in law has connections to religious confession. Yelling "confess!" sounds like something from the catholic inquisition of the middle ages and definitely not something anyone would use in modern, everyday speech.

"Admit it" is 'everyday' speech. It could be formal - 'confessions' in law are sometimes referred to as admissions or admissions of guilt. But it is common enough to be used informally too.

It might be worth noting that a British English colloquialism 'fess up' is an informal, slang expression derived from the word 'confess' and means to admit or confess.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .