Main definitions of fess in US English:

: fess1fess2

fess1

(also fesse)

noun

Heraldry
  • An ordinary in the form of a broad horizontal stripe across the middle of the shield.

    • ‘A checkered band of blue and silver (called 'fess') is placed across the center of the shield and this is taken from the Arms of Stewart to denote descent from that family.’
    • ‘The family arms were; ‘Argent, a fess between six crosslets fitchee sable.’’
    • ‘Fess, bend, chevron and pall describes the way the shield is divided and division can depend on the metals, colors and objects within it.’

Phrases

  • in fess

    • Across the middle third of the field.

      • ‘Two or more charges arranged in a horizontal row are blazoned in fess.’
      • ‘On Gawsworth church tower this shield has, in addition, two lozenges in fess.’

Origin

Late 15th century: from Old French fesse, alteration of faisse, from Latin fascia ‘band’. Compare with fascia.

Pronunciation

fess

/fɛs//fes/

Main definitions of fess in US English:

: fess1fess2

fess2

verb

[no object]fess up
informal
  • Confess; own up.

    ‘“Fess up,” she demanded. “What were you doing in Peter's private office?”’
    • ‘The format may have remained the same - with weekly tasks, shopping budgets, fessing up in the diary room, and nominations for eviction - but the contestants have become acutely aware that nothing they do or say is really private.’
    • ‘Then he fessed up that I was being considered for the show.’
    • ‘And I am surprised the male family members are not just fessing up.’
    • ‘If you see a right- or left-wing writer fessing up to their own side's errors or mistakes, let me know.’
    • ‘It's a travesty that she's in jail at this point and she's protecting some source, who is not in jail or who is not even fessing up to relieve her of that responsibility.’
    • ‘It has always been about the study, with a thin (mighty thin) veneer of job usefulness, but I haven't fessed up to that before.’
    • ‘At least I have fessed up (if only to myself, and now to you).’
    • ‘For five glorious minutes, the never-to-be-heard-from-again Sugar Hill act Chilly Kids not only fesses up to this, but revels in it.’
    • ‘I have to say, most are either really honest, or really not fessing up.’
    • ‘In that column, he went on at length about how the petroleum industry's bad because it encourages car dependency and other unsustainable practices, without fessing up to his own complicity in car culture.’
    • ‘Instead he fessed up to the civil offence of breaching his duties as a company director - under the Corporations Act (here).’
    • ‘Yesterday I took a mild swipe at the Christians for not fessing up to their omnipotent God being responsible for the earthquake.’
    • ‘The baby he's having with the other woman will be married before he fesses up.’
    • ‘But yesterday the BBC finally fessed up and admitted that, yes, Dr. Kelly had been the source of what it continues to maintain was an accurate report.’
    • ‘Anyway, I think it's time I stop apologizing and instead start fessing up, with like, really unabashed, reckless, so-not-indie abandon.’
    • ‘I am going to let all the grass die, all the rubbish pile up, let the homeless people come back, and I will not be the maid to clean up until it is fessed up who is actually responsible.’
    • ‘A month or two later, Dennis MacShane was fessing up.’
    • ‘Yesterday's mention of my yearning for someone who likes the smell of pesto has had people fessing up to a basil bias all over the place.’
    • ‘He fessed up to it, he didn't hide behind daddy.’
    • ‘So then, all right, he's reading into you that you're not fessing up now because it looks bad for you.’
    own up, admit guilt, plead guilty, accept blame, accept responsibility, be completely honest, tell the truth, tell all, make a clean breast of it, unbosom oneself
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: shortening of confess.

Pronunciation

fess

/fes//fɛs/