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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for confidentially
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The girls can talk quietly and confidentially, if they choose.

  • He approached, on his side, confidentially, but not too markedly so.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • confidentially, 'Father, I sometimes thought of it, but it rather scared me!

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • He confessed to them confidentially that he was the real boss of the building.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • "I don't think she was intendin' to," remarked the latter, confidentially.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • “Mary takes after her pa, poor child,” she had told Trudy confidentially.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley
British Dictionary definitions for confidentially


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 confidentially



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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