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.
(of information, a document, etc.)
  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 formscon·fi·den·ti·al·i·ty, con·fi·den·tial·ness, nouncon·fi·den·tial·ly, adverbnon·con·fi·den·tial, adjectivenon·con·fi·den·tial·ly, adverbnon·con·fi·den·tial·ness, nounnon·con·fi·den·ti·al·i·ty, nounqua·si-con·fi·den·tial, adjectivequa·si-con·fi·den·tial·ly, adverb

Synonyms for confidential Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for confidential

classified, hush-hush, private, intimate, arcane, closet, inside, privy, backdoor

Examples from the Web for confidential

Contemporary Examples of confidential

Historical Examples of confidential

  • 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 affairsa confidential secretary
suggestive of or denoting intimacya confidential approach
Derived Formsconfidentiality or confidentialness, nounconfidentially, 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

Word Origin and History for confidential

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper