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[kon-fi-den-shuh l] /ˌkɒn fɪˈdɛn ʃəl/
spoken, written, acted on, etc., in strict privacy or secrecy; secret:
a confidential remark.
indicating confidence or intimacy; imparting private matters:
a confidential tone of voice.
having another's trust or confidence; entrusted with secrets or private affairs:
a confidential secretary.
  1. bearing the classification confidential, usually being above restricted and below secret.
  2. limited to persons authorized to use information, documents, etc., so classified.
    Compare classification (def 5).
Origin of confidential
1645-55; < Latin confīdenti(a) confidence + -al1
Related forms
confidentiality, confidentialness, noun
confidentially, adverb
nonconfidential, adjective
nonconfidentially, adverb
nonconfidentialness, noun
nonconfidentiality, noun
quasi-confidential, adjective
quasi-confidentially, adverb
1. restricted, private. 2. intimate, familiar. 3. trusted, trustworthy, private. See familiar. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for confidential
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why, this here despatch is signed by young Toler—that's his confidential man.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • He was smiling at me in a friendly, confidential way that showed a happy mood.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • Josie is rattling volubly, but with a hint of the confidential in her tone.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • She broke off with a light laugh, and her confidential manner was gone in a flash.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • But b'ys,' says he, solemn and confidential, 'are you on the square?

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for confidential


spoken, written, or given in confidence; secret; private
entrusted with another's confidence or secret affairs: a confidential secretary
suggestive of or denoting intimacy: a confidential approach
Derived Forms
confidentiality, confidentialness, noun
confidentially, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for confidential

1759, from Latin confidentia (see confidence) + -al (1). Related: Confidentiality; confidentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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