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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for confidential
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Meanwhile, the contessina is certain to send the confidential servant of whom you speak to give me instructions.

    A Roman Singer F. Marion Crawford
  • He was smiling at me in a friendly, confidential way that showed a happy mood.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • They belong to the same order as the notes for the unfinished novels, but they are even more informal and confidential.

  • She broke off with a light laugh, and her confidential manner was gone in a flash.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • He was the confidential adviser of the most beautiful woman in London, was the trusted of aristocrats.

    The Secret House Edgar Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for confidential


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 confidential

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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