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  1. spoken, written, acted on, etc., in strict privacy or secrecy; secret: a confidential remark.
  2. indicating confidence or intimacy; imparting private matters: a confidential tone of voice.
  3. having another's trust or confidence; entrusted with secrets or private affairs: a confidential secretary.
  4. (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).
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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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for confidentially

covertly, personally, privately, hushedly

Examples from the Web for confidentially

Contemporary Examples of confidentially

Historical Examples of confidentially

  • 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.


    Emile Zola

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

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for confidentially


  1. spoken, written, or given in confidence; secret; private
  2. entrusted with another's confidence or secret affairsa confidential secretary
  3. suggestive of or denoting intimacya confidential approach
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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 confidentially



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper