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confidant

[ kon-fi-dant, -dahnt, -duhnt, kon-fi-dant, -dahnt ]
/ ˈkɒn fɪˌdænt, -ˌdɑnt, -dənt, ˌkɒn fɪˈdænt, -ˈdɑnt /
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noun
a close friend or associate to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed.
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Origin of confidant

1705–15; <French confident<Italian confidente, noun use of adj.; see confident

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH confidant

confidant , confidante, confident
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

CONFIDANT VS. CONFIDANTE VS. CONFIDENT

What’s the difference between confidant, confidante, and confident?

Confidant is a noun meaning someone you feel comfortable telling secret or private things to—a person you confide in. The word confidante is a gender-specific form of confidant that’s applied to women. Confident is an adjective that means sure of oneself or one’s abilities, or having a high level of certainty about something.

Very rarely, the word confident can be used as a noun meaning the same thing as confidant, but we’re pretty confident almost no one uses it this way. We’re also sorry to report that there’s a kind of sofa called a confidente that can also be called a confidante, but honestly you’ll be better off if you just forget we ever said anything about it.

Confidant and confidante are borrowed from French, which has grammatical gender, so some words end differently depending on whether they are applied to men or women (with e being the feminine ending). This happens in a few other pairs of words in English, like blond and blonde, though in many cases the term without the e has become largely gender-neutral. This is the case with confidant, which is the more commonly used of the two.

What’s the best way to be confident that you’re using the right word? Just remember that the ending of both confidant and confidante sounds like the more formal pronunciation of aunt—your aunt could be your confidant (as could your commandant, the ending of which also sounds the same).

The ending of confident, on the other hand, sounds like dent.

Here’s an example of confidant and confident used correctly in the same sentence. (The word confidant could be replaced with confidante if you were referring to a woman and wanted to make the term gender-specific.)

Example: I am confident that what I confide to my confidant stays confidential. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between confidant, confidante, and confident.

Quiz yourself on confidant vs. confidante vs. confident!

Should confident, confidant, or confidante be used in the following sentence?

She felt _____ that her entry would win the contest.

How to use confidant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for confidant

confidant
/ (ˌkɒnfɪˈdænt, ˈkɒnfɪˌdænt) /

noun
a person, esp a man, to whom private matters are confided

Word Origin for confidant

C17: from French confident, from Italian confidente, n use of adj: trustworthy, from Latin confīdens confident
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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