ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►

CONFESS: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "confess / admit / willing"

If you mean "confess" as in to admit or acknowledge that something is the case -- the sign for "confess" in ASL is generally the same sign as we use for the concept of "willing."

CONFESS, willing, admit:




Note:  If you draw out or extend the sign (CONFESS or WILLING) doing so can add the meaning of "reluctantly, hesitantly, grudgingly."
For example to sign "grudgingly admitted" do the sign CONFESS in a drawn out, hesitant, grudging sort of way.  The same applies to the concept of "reluctantly willing."


Note:  "poppysmic" and the sign for ADMIT:

The following isn't a rule. Those if you are reading this please don't start claiming that the following the "right" way to sign ADMIT. There are variations and I'm going to share a mildly interesting variation with you:

The concept of "ADMIT" is sometimes accompanied by a poppysmic (smacking of the lips) type of "ma" mouth movement (probably evolved from the the "mit" portion of "admit."

Thus during a Deaf client plea bargaining someone could sign: "IX WILLING ADMIT-[poppysmic-"ma"] IX fs-DID-IT"

Of course there are other micro-variations that could be used to distinguish WILLING vs ADMIT. For the ADMIT / confess concept you could use two hands and splayed fingers along with a larger movement that ends more palm up.

Remember though, just because you "can" choose to vary your signing to create distinctions doesn't change the fact that ADMIT and WILLING can be (and very often are) done the exact same way.


I will also suggest that etymologically (where the signs come from) "ADMIT" seems somewhat more based on the concept of "get something off your chest" -- whereas WILLING seems to have some roots in "I'd be happy to..."

I suggest that because I've noticed that some signers (not that many but enough to be noticeable) do a one-handed version of HAPPY to mean "willing."

In reviewing videos I've also noticed that sometimes (not most of the time but rather once in a while) the concept of "confess" uses the two hands with splayed (spread) fingers.

So, this gets back to the idea of certain very similar signs being like a Venn diagram wherein they overlap totally much of the time but there are areas in which they do not overlap.


Notes: See: ADMIT





*  Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy
DONATE  (Thanks!)

Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)  

*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel:

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University  
ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars