• (noun): Heraldry A wide horizontal band forming the middle section of an escutcheon.
  • (verb-intransitive): Informal To admit to something; confess, often used with up: "won't fess up to being even vaguely liberal” ( Jonathan Alter).

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Wordnet definitions

  • (noun): (heraldry) an ordinary consisting of a broad horizontal band across a shield

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In heraldry, a fess or fesse (from Middle English fesse, from Old French, from Latin fascia, \"band\") is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the centre of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by a fess or other ordinary, ranging from one-fifth to one-third. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry states that earlier writers including Leigh, Holme, and Guillim favour one-third, while later writers such as Edmondson favour one-fifth \"on the grounds that a bend, pale, or chevron occupying one-third of the field makes the coat look clumsy and disagreeable.\" A fess is likely to be shown narrower if it is uncharged, that is, if it does not have other charges placed on it, and/or if it is to be shown with charges above and below it; and shown wider if charged. The fess or bar, termed fasce in French heraldry, should not be confused with fasces.

Example Sentences

  • Truth & Reconciliation: The Israeli neo-cons need to 'fess up! yahooBuzzArticleHeadline =' Truth & Reconciliation: The Israeli neo-cons need to \'fess up! '

  • Call them collectors, in other words - even though it's not a moniker they fess up to.

  • Another modern coat which may provoke a groan is that granted in 1977 to Dr. Claude Bursill, which includes three burrs, or teasels, and the heraldic ordinary known as a fess, which resembles a horizontal slab or sill.

  • If you give them the right information, you kind of fess up, chances are that you can get out of this by paying a fine and paying your back-taxes.

  • Just another trivia point: when the stripe is horizontal, it's called a "fess".

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