/keuhn fesh"euh nl/, adj.
1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or based on confession: confessional release.
2. the place set apart for the hearing of confessions by a priest.
3. Fr. Furniture. a high, upholstered wing chair of the 18th century.
[1590-1600; < ML confessionale, neut. of confessionalis (adj.); see CONFESSION, -AL1; in def. 2, 3 < F < ML]

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▪ religious architecture
 in Roman Catholic churches, box cabinet or stall in which the priest sits to hear the confessions of penitents. The confessional is usually a wooden structure with a compartment (entered through a door or curtain) in which the priest sits and, on one or both sides, another compartment or compartments for penitents. The latter compartment is separated from the priest's by a partition with a latticed opening for the penitent to speak through and contains a step on which to kneel. By this arrangement the priest is hidden; the penitent may or may not be visible to others. Confessionals often form part of the architectural scheme of the church, but they may be movable pieces of furniture.

      In its present form the confessional dates no farther back than the 16th century. Before that time, the priest normally administered the sacrament in its private form while seated on a chair in some part of the church, and the penitent stood or sat beside him and knelt for absolution. St. Charles Borromeo (Borromeo, Saint Charles) first ordered the use of a metal grill between priest and penitent in Milan in 1565. Some modern churches provide a room where priest and penitent may be face-to-face for the sacrament of reconciliation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Confessional — Con*fes sion*al, n. [F. confessional.] The recess, seat, or inclosed place, where a priest sits to hear confessions; often a small structure furnished with a seat for the priest and with a window or aperture so that the penitent who is outside… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Confessional — Con*fes sion*al, a. Pertaining to a confession of faith. [1913 Webster] {Confessional equality}, equality before the law of persons confessing different creeds. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • confessional — place where a priest sits to hear confession, 1727, from Fr. confessional, from M.L. confessionale, neut. of confessionalis (adj.), from confiteri (see CONFESS (Cf. confess)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • confessional — adj. 2 g. 1. Relativo ou semelhante a confissão (ex.: tom confessional). 2. Relativo a uma crença religiosa.   ‣ Etimologia: latim confessio, onis, confissão + al …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • confessional — ► NOUN 1) an enclosed stall in a church, in which a priest sits to hear confessions. 2) a confession. ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of speech or writing) in which a person admits to private thoughts or incidents in their past. 2) relating to religious… …   English terms dictionary

  • confessional — [kən fesh′ə nəl] n. [Fr, orig. (chaire) confessionale, (chair) for confession] 1. a small, enclosed place in a church, where a priest hears confessions 2. confession to a priest adj. of, characterized by, or for a confession or confessions …   English World dictionary

  • Confessional — For other uses, see Confessional (disambiguation). A confessional is a small, enclosed booth used for the Sacrament of Penance, often called confession, or Reconciliation. It is the usual venue for the sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church, but… …   Wikipedia

  • confessional — [[t]kənfe̱ʃən(ə)l[/t]] confessionals 1) N COUNT A confessional is the small room in a church where Christians, especially Roman Catholics, go to confess their sins. 2) ADJ GRADED A confessional speech or writing contains confessions. The… …   English dictionary

  • confessional — I UK [kənˈfeʃ(ə)nəl] / US [kənˈfeʃən(ə)l] noun [countable] Word forms confessional : singular confessional plural confessionals a small room in a church, especially a Roman Catholic church, where a person goes to tell a priest about the bad… …   English dictionary

  • confessional — con|fes|sion|al1 [kənˈfeʃənəl] n a place in a church, usually an enclosed room, where a priest hears people make their confessions confessional 2 confessional2 adj confessional speech or writing contains private thoughts or feelings that you… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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