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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
  • Jefferson leaned towards him confidentially, with one hand on the rails.

    For Jacinta Harold Bindloss
  • Its the dog biscuits I give him, Mr. Maclin explained, confidentially.

  • This they all heartily agreed to, and confidentially, on the journey up to Beckenham, spoke and bragged of their various crimes.

    The Smugglers Charles G. Harper
  • I thrust my arm into his gaily and confidentially, and he immediately unhooked.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
  • Then the Judge decided to explain to him, confidentially, their long poverty.

    John March, Southerner George W. Cable
  • Then, confidentially, 'We've got one new helper that we've great hopes of.

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
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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